Graduation year: 2015
Activities: Phi Beta Kappa, Interfaith Understanding, Imam/religious leader in the Quad Cities
Post-grad plans: I plan to continue serving as an imam at the mosque and help further develop an interfaith program at Augustana. I also intend to begin my graduate studies in clinical counseling at Western Illinois University.
Why did you choose Augustana?
I chose Augustana because of its excellent reputation and highly qualified faculty. As a religious leader in the Quad-Cities, I visited Augustana frequently for presentations. I found it to be very inviting and a great environment in which to learn. Its small class sizes allowed for easy interaction with classmates and teachers. I am very grateful to have had this opportunity to learn at this prestigious college.
Are you where you thought you'd be four years ago?
Yes, I am. I knew I wanted to finish undergraduate studies and get into a master’s program in clinical counseling.
Who helped you get to where you are now?
Firstly, my wife has supported me continuously from the very beginning. Despite my very busy schedule, she has helped me immensely in juggling my busy calendar. Wife, kids, school and work is a recipe for learning to manage time. I would certainly not be where I am without her unwavering support. Also, my dear friend who is also a fellow Viking — Zubair Ansari — who was instrumental from the beginning for me to study at Augustana.
A peak experience?
I greatly enjoyed taking Religion 410 with President Bahls and Dr. Lee. Every class challenged me to think critically and in ways that I had never imagined before. I learned something new each time. My peak experience was to engage in a very intellectual discussion with President Bahls, which I will never forget.
What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
I’ve learned that you can accomplish anything as long as you are determined to do so. As the saying goes, “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” This year, I had an awfully busy schedule and several duties to fulfill. At times, I thought I wouldn’t be able to reach my goal. But, with the help of faculty and especially Pastor Priggie, and the administration, the educational pursuit at Augustana has been seamless and well worth it!
What will you miss the most?
I will miss the faculty. I developed a great relationship with the religion department and other faculty. They are a great group of people who I respect and admire. I am so grateful for their kindness, support and encouragement. They helped me to succeed.
Advice for the Class of 2019?
Make use of your time and utilize it in the best way. Don’t hesitate to seek advice from the faculty. They are readily available to assist students in any way they can. Learn from your experiences, good or bad. Be determined, strive to excel and reach for the stars!
“I have greatly enjoyed learning to know Imam Hassan Saad Baig, who was enrolled in the medical ethics class I taught fall term and the special topics course President Steve Bahls and I taught spring term. We spent hours outside of class talking about matters of mutual interest, conversations that were so engaging that there was never sufficient time to bring them to conclusion. Imam Hassan Saad Baig is a kind, gentle person who exemplifies what is best about Islam — indeed, about religion in general.”