On Feb. 14, the SG community welcomed back to campus Ehtsham ul Haq '89, who was visiting from Pakistan. Ul Haq toured the school, had lunch in King Hall with students, and visited English and history teacher Jake Westermann's Global Studies class.
Ul Haq attended Columbia University after SG before moving back to Islamabad, where he is currently chief executive of ELC Solutions Corp., a telecommunications company that specializes in different power system services and defense supplies for the Armed Services of Pakistan.
We asked ul Haq about his time at SG and what it was like to return to campus:
What first brought you to St. George's School?
One of my teachers at my school in Lahore, Pakistan, suggested that if I wished to pursue a college education in the U.S., I might try to go for my senior year to a boarding school. He suggested several schools, SG being one of them.
What was your initial impression of the school when you got here?
Having spent almost 60 hours traveling: delayed transit at Amsterdam, a missed flight at JFK for Providence, a night spent with two large suitcases at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City in September 1988, waiting to catch the early morning bus to Providence, etc. After that, it was a relief to have made it finally.
I was, however, welcomed with open arms and a lot of affection from the faculty and the students. I can never forget the moment when my taxi arrived at the steps of the main entrance after the ordeal.
Who were some St. George's teachers that left an impact on you and why?
All my teachers were great. Mr. William Schenck (God bless his soul) was my counselor and he really treated me like a son. Until his passing away, whenever I would be in the U.S. or while I was at Columbia University, a dinner with him at the Harvard Club (his alma mater) was a regular feature.
What was your favorite subject at St. George's and why?
U.S. History. Mr. [Charles] Stillwell was the teacher and I really enjoyed the course and actually still know the names of all the states by heart!
What did you do after St. George's?
I went on to attend Columbia University in New York City with a major in materials science. Afterwards, I returned to Pakistan and joined my family business.
What is your work at ELC Solutions in Islamabad?
I run companies in Pakistan related to telecommunications and defense business. Also, we have an electronics recycling business coming up which would be the first one of its kind in the country.
What was it like being back at St. George's after so many years?
What made you want to revisit campus on Feb. 14?
I have so many fond memories of the school and just wanted to refresh them. I hope my children get the chance and opportunity one day to attend SG and that it will have the impact it had on me. It changed my life and perspective on a number of things.
What's changed the most at St. George's since you were a student?
I had my lunch at the faculty table!
Well, the school certainly has most modern facilities and the students I interacted with in the Global Studies class were just unbelievably smart and erudite. Their exuberance and the confidence in them really made me feel proud of them and the school.