When Graceland University senior Ali Tokatli graduates in December, he will have too many accomplishments to squeeze into a reasonably-sized resume. After just three years, Ali will graduate with a degree in business administration, political science and economics, with a concentration in peace studies.
He is preparing to change the world.
Ali grew up in Syria, fled to Egypt as a teenager and is now part of the Graceland family. He has a huge capacity for learning and leadership and has been involved with Graceland’s Peace Committee, International Club, Enactus, Economics Club, Student Senate and Cheville House as Chaplain.
This summer, Ali put his business skills to work at not one, but two internships: one working 13-hour days in marketing and sales for AT&T in Detroit, Michigan, creating marketing strategies in direct sales. “It was interesting to experience, although I wouldn’t want to make that my career. I was promoted to leadership, but had to leave for the next internship,” explained Ali. Next, as a McClain Enterprises intern for a second year in Independence, Missouri, Ali was the team leader. An innovative and talented fundraiser, Ali was able to raise an unprecedented amount for the newly-released Polly’s Pop and sold sponsorships for the community Wednesday night movies on the Independence Square. In true form, he is still involved with generating market expansion.
Ken McClain ’79 of McClain Enterprises introduced Ali at Graceland’s 2016 Homecoming Presidential Brunch and endorsed his work ethic and savvy business sense. “Ali is a sincere student who recognizes and seizes opportunity. His leadership and entrepreneurial business sense will serve him well.”
Q & A:
HOW WERE YOU LED TO GRACELAND?
“It was through a friend’s recommendation. At first, I was shocked; coming from Cairo to Lamoni. To be honest, the community at Graceland is like a big family, and there are more opportunities here than I would have had at a bigger university. Being involved with the Honors program, I was able to take an overload of courses and graduate in just three years.”
WHAT HAS GRACELAND PROVIDED YOU?
“Graceland provided a welcoming and friendly community free from the racism that concerned me. I have been able to interact on a personal level with all my professors and have spent hours talking with them, learning in depth, aside from the classroom environment. I have made new friends from all over the world right here in Lamoni. I worked with the interfaith campus ministries team, and Campus Minister, Mike Hoffman, is one of my favorite people on campus.”
WHAT IS NEXT?
“I plan to work for a year or two and will determine what is the best course of action for me. There is a program at Georgetown — Diplomacy and International Law — that looks interesting right now, but we will see.”
Graceland is proud to count Ali as part of the family.
The Des Moines Register featured Ali, where he explained that he is studying at Graceland University to help educate; to help correct the mistaken stigma surrounding Muslims and to work toward peace.*