TSU, China universities strengthen educational ties

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Staff Writer

Troy State University played host to representatives of four universities from the People’s Republic of China on Tuesday.

The universities and TSU are partners in the Chinese-American Joint Education Program. Representatives from China and America offered their insight on the program and expressed appreciation for the combined efforts during a ceremony in the Hawkins-Adams-Long Hall of Honor.

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After officially welcoming the Chinese guests, a trumpet ensemble performed the national anthems of both nations.

"It’s my great pleasure to welcome you to our campus," said Curt Porter, dean of International Programs at TSU.

During his comments, Porter talked about how the program with China began.

Last August, 40 students from the People’s Republic of China enrolled at Troy State as the first participants in a dual-degree partnership between TSU and six universities in China. The program is structured in a 1-2-1 format, with students completing their freshman years at the Chinese universities, attending TSU for their sophomore and junior years and returning home to complete their senior years.

"Your visit signals the willingness to create international partnerships," said State Sen. Jimmy Holley, D-Elba.

Holley, who has served on the Troy State University Board of Trustees, said Alabama wants to strengthen global relations and the 1-2-1 program is a step toward that accomplishment.

"I view your visit as very positive and encouraging," Holley said, adding continuing efforts to promote such programs will enhance future partnerships.

Fred Davis, provost at TSU, said this program binds the "ancient and honorable" history of China with the advanced technology of the United States.

"You will continue to advance our academic standards," Davis said. "We expect you to write in large letters the name of Troy State University."

Three months after first arriving, Wang Chuan offered his impressions of the United States, Troy, Alabama and, more specifically, Troy State University.

He and the other Chinese students, he said, have been "deeply touched" by the welcome they have received.

"They treat us as a family," he said to the Chinese delegation sitting before him.

He acknowledged the Chinese students have "a long way to go," but is convinced each has "a great future" because of the experience they have had in Troy.

Through a translator, Jack Hawkins Jr., chancellor of the Troy State University System, thanked the Chinese delegation for "sharing with us outstanding students."

Hawkins made some points to the delegation ­ quality of the education at TSU, dedication to safety and commitment to building international relations.

"We are committed to quality at Troy State University," Hawkins said, adding part of that quality is ensuring the safety of students on campus.

But, that is not the only commitment TSU is making.

"Troy State University is committed to being a global village," Hawkins said, adding the nation today is not the same one in which he grew up.

"Today, China is part of a big community. America is part of a big community," he said. "And, we are dedicated to preparing our students to be part of that global community."

Ten years ago, TSU had a international student population representing 13 countries. Today, that number is at 54 nations with the People’s Republic of China being the largest to send students here.

Hawkins used a Chinese proverb ­ Cloth is not woven from a single thread. ­ to acknowledge the importance of the partnership between TSU and the Chinese universities.

"We believe if the fabric of friendship and understanding is to be strong, all of us must contribute to the education of all our people," Hawkins said.

During the ceremony, Hawkins presented resolutions to the Chinese delegation and Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford presented the group the key to the city.