Honoring the Legacy of Minister Driss Ouaouicha
On January 28, 2020, the AUI community honored outgoing president Dr. Driss Ouaouicha with an on-campus event in his honor. His Majesty King Mohammed VI appointed Dr. Ouaouicha as Minister Delegate in charge of Higher Education and Scientific Research this past November. On Tuesday, students, faculty, staff, and alumni praised Dr. Ouaouicha and presented him with gifts to recognize his ten years of service to Al Akhawayn University.
To commence the celebration, incoming President Dr. Amine Bensaid gave a speech to the community, followed by a heartfelt address from Minister Ouaouicha. To recognize his dedication to the University, faculty members Dr. Eric Ross and Dr. Wafa Elgarah praised the Minister’s respect for the opinions of faculty members. Mrs. Fatima Sadik of Academic Affairs represented AUI’s staff in her address to the Minister and Miriam Mouhoub of the Student Government Association (SGA) spoke on behalf of the AUI student body to praise Minister Ouaouicha’s willingness to collaborate with students.
As part of the ceremony, Minister Ouaouicha also received gifts from different units and the institution as a whole. The celebration included a video to commemorate the highlights of Minister Ouaouicha’s time as president, along with a reception for community members to greet the Minister. Students, faculty, and staff also participated in a time of testimonials during the event where they remembered the Minister’s commitment to the success of AUI.
During Dr. Ouaouicha’s time in leadership, AUI obtained institutional accreditation by a regional U.S. accreditation association in addition to degree and support program accreditations. The study body population increased from 1,314 to 2,022 since 2008 and the university added tutoring, mentoring, and advising centers to enhance students’ experience. Over the last ten years, AUI expanded to include a Student Center, Fitness Center, additional residential building, new academic building, and Downtown residence. Administratively, it established the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, a Presidential Innovation Fund, and the Presidential Internship Program. Minister Ouaouicha was a defining factor in these successes and the immense growth of AUI over the last decade.