Transformed by beautifully draped tents, artwork, rugs, and historical displays, Marymount’s Lee Center transported participants in the Saudi National Day Celebration on September 24 to another corner of the world. The event celebrates the unification of the Saudi people by Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and the establishment of the modern kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932.
The celebration was organized by Marymount’s Saudi Student Association, led by President Abdulrahman (Abdul) Al Balawi (BBA, International Business major), Vice President Mashael Naif (Liberal Studies major), Treasurer Ibrahim Almojel (BBA, Finance major), and Public Relations Director Maznah Alrobayan (BBA, Marketing major). “We started planning this event in early summer,” Abdul explained. Back then, he didn’t imagine how big it would become. More than 500 people attended, including many from the Marymount community who wanted to learn more about Saudi culture.
The impressive tenting and staging of the tea room, cultural display room, and dining hall were the work of Marymount Interior Design alumna Dahlia Mahmood ’01, who is originally from Iraq. With yard upon yard of fabric, palm trees, and authentic furnishings, she provided the look and feel of being in Saudi Arabia.
Marymount President James E. Bundschuh welcomed Dr. Mohammed Aleissi, the Saudi cultural attaché, and other guests to campus. Dr. Aleissi heads the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the U.S., which supports Saudi students studying in America through the King Abdullah Scholarship Program. The Cultural Mission, Saudi Arabian Airlines, and Saudi Board of Tourism were all sponsors of the celebration.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Aleissi said, “This is an opportunity to share our culture, and Marymount’s students have done a wonderful job.” President Bundschuh agreed, saying, “I’m always proud of our students, and tonight I am especially proud of our Saudi students.”
1 – Marymount President James E. Bundschuh receives an appreciation gift from the Saudi Student Association leadership. Pictured left to right: Maznah Alrobayan, Mashael Naif, Dr. Bundschuh, Abdul Al Balawi, and Ibrahim Almojel
2 – The Lee Center Recreational Gym transformed!
3 – Masnah Alrobayan (left), Mashael Naif and Abdul Al Balawi thank Dahlia Mahmood for the fantastic design of the celebration spaces.
4 – Dr. Mohammed Alomar (left), Saudi assistant cultural attaché for Academic Affairs, and Dean James Ryerson, School of Business Administration, chat in the tented tea room (a.k.a. the Lee Center Atrium)
5 – Dr. James E. Bundschuh, Marymount president, and Dr. Mohammed Aleissi, Saudi cultural attaché with Saudi students