USJ’s Fall 2023 Common Theme Program Begins with ‘The I in Immigrant’ 

Dr. Ahmed Abdelmageed gave a glimpse into his life as an American immigrant in the first of USJ’s Fall 2023 Common Theme events focusing on Identity. 

The Sept. 12 program was one of 13 Common Theme events, designed to engage incoming first-year students, current students, faculty, staff and alumni in campus-wide events that foster discussion, connection and exploration. These shared experiences encourage the campus community to build connections to the University’s mission and core values. 

In his talk, “The I in Immigrant,” Dr. Abdelmageed, Dean of the School of Pharmacy and PA Studies and Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Administration, spoke about his identities as a Palestinian, Muslim immigrant to the United States. Dr. Abdelmageed, whose family is from Palestine, was born and raised in Qatar. He came to the U.S. 27 years ago at the age of 18 to attend Ferris State University in Michigan. He joined USJ in 2021.

For two seasons, while serving as Associate Professor and Assistant Dean at Manchester University near Fort Wayne, he interviewed immigrants from all walks of life for a podcast called “The I in Immigrant.”  

In discussing the issue with his subjects on the podcast, Dr. Abdelmageed said he wanted to humanize the label “immigrant” instead of showing “a complete human being, with all of their aspirations and dreams in a particular way…Our minds would rather take the short cut to think, Immigrant equals ‘X’, Arab equals ‘Y,’ Muslim equals ‘Z’. We can’t reduce our interaction with each other to this form of simple reaction to a label. 

“When I think about the United States, I think of it as a mosaic,” he said. “A mosaic is a compilation of different pieces. Each piece is beautiful on its own, but the whole picture is much better when it is looked at as a collection, as a whole…If we view the United States as a mosaic, we begin to appreciate the different cultural aspects, the different thought processes, the different problem-solving, the different idea-generation that people from different walks of life have and bring to the United States.” 

For more information about the Common Theme program and its events, visit: 

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