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On Sunday evening, a group of Dubai alumni community gathered to say farewell to fellow alumnus and Strathclyde Senior Lecturer, Dr Catherine Demangeot, who has been part of the fabric of Strathclyde in the UAE for the past eighteen years.
Joining as a student in 1996 – the year the Strathclyde MBA was launched in Dubai, Catherine will be remembered by almost every student who has passed through the two UAE centres. Catherine has in turn been student, alumnus, local counsellor, lecturer, and alumni committee member – indeed, there would seem to be no role that Catherine has not thrown her energy and enthusiasm into and excelled at.
The group met at Catherine’s favourite Mexican restaurant in Dubai where it took up a large swathe of the restaurant. Spreading out over four large tables, it was a lively and sociable event with much table-hopping and networking going on. It is testament to how many Strathclyde’s lives Catherine has touched over the years that there were alumni representing almost every intake. Many reminisced on the inspiration and support they had received from Catherine during their studies. One alumni, Adil Driver, whose project Catherine supervised, described her as the best mentor of his entire life.
The occasion was formally marked with speeches, gifts and group photos. Loretta Myers, committee member and fellow student from the 1990s, gave a stirring tribute to Catherine and the immense contribution she has made to the Strathclyde MBA community over the years. She described her, to unanimous cheers, as one of the driving forces behind the Dubai alumni and said she had been the catalyst behind many bold initiatives. Catherine, she said, was always there to offer advice and encouragement, and to persuade alumni to lend their support with such entreaties famously beginning ‘I’ve got an idea….’
The Dubai Committee then presented Catherine with a Kashmiri shawl and a crystal hologram engraved with a personalised inscription from the Dubai Chapter. She also received a framed montage of photos from the Abu Dhabi Chapter in recognition of her support during this inaugural year of the chapter.
Catherine described her 23 years in the UAE as a very memorable time in her life but of Strathclyde she said, ‘I don’t think there is anything that is ever going to replace the Strathclyde community in my heart, and I will always be a proud Strathclyder.’ She described the fun she’d had as a lecturer, the privilege of knowing so many amazing students over the years and how the smiles of students on their graduation day had given her professional life so much meaning.
She went on to describe her experiences with the Dubai alumni committee and said she was humbled by the skills, enthusiasm and generosity that the committee members and broader alumni community gave to each event to make it a success. Catherine said her parting wish was that the Chapter pursue a networking theme in the coming year so that the community could better leverage the power that the network had to offer.
To close, Catherine left the group with a rallying cry to, ‘Have the courage to be as good as you all can be!’ and then, ready to take on the world, the party gathered for the obligatory group photo.
And so it came time for the alumni to say good bye. As Loretta put it, ‘We wish you a bright beginning, exciting experiences, fantastic new friendships, and the adventure of a lifetime!’ But Catherine, who will always be a Dubai alumnus and could find herself virtually attending committee meetings or back on occasional assignments, left us all with the French, ‘A bientot!’ See you later!
Catherine and her family are moving to Paris later this month where she is taking up a new post at IESEG as Associate Professor.