Jun 30, 2010
Humboldt State University and China’s Xi’an International Studies University awarded dual degrees June 28th in Xi’an to the first graduating class of the Chinese school’s Humboldt College. The partnership enables HSU to recruit and matriculate Chinese students in residence at the Arcata campus.
HSU President Rollin Richmond called the 15 graduates citizens of the world. “We at Humboldt State believe that encounters with other cultures are an essential part of an examined life,” Richmond told the audience at the Xi’an campus in northwest China. Xi’an is one of China’s four ancient capitals, dating to the 11th century BCE and spanning 13 dynasties. It is home to the famed Terracotta Warriors.
Joined by Xi’an President Sishe Hu and Provost Liu Yuelian, Richmond saluted the students for their academic achievements, which, he said, “dissolved borders and boundaries and widened their intellectual horizons. In completing their dual degree requirements at both universities, they have become full players in this era of globalization.”
HSU alumnus Po Chung (’69), the Hong Kong business and civic leader who co-founded the Asia Pacific Division of DHL Express and is a Sino-HSU liaison, marked the occasion via email while traveling in Europe. “Humboldt College’s first commencement symbolizes the high importance of the connection between Xi’an and Humboldt State,” he said. “It takes place at a key time in the history of Asia and the world of greater interdependence in the global economy,”
The dual-degree graduates majored in business or international studies while honing their skills in English on the Redwood Coast. They studied at HSU in their sophomore and junior years and in some instances their senior year as well.
Xi’an’s Humboldt College is the linchpin of a partnership established in 2006 for student and faculty exchanges, joint academic programs, mutual research and scholarship, and service projects. HSU faculty members teach on a regular basis at the new school.
Guru Ghosh, director of HSU’s International Programs, called the June 28th graduation an historical milestone “because we had the first Humboldt State president presiding over commencement ceremonies in another country.”
Ghosh, who accompanied Richmond and HSU Provost Robert Snyder to Xi’an, said he expects Humboldt College to grow, based not only on the relationship with Xi’an, but also on HSU’s partnerships with 17 other Chinese institutions of higher learning. Those additional connnections also stemmed from the 2006 Xi’an accords. Chinese students at those other institutions are also eligible to complete their sophomore and junior years at HSU.
During their visit to Xi’an, the three HSU leaders conducted detailed, one-on-one talks with their Chinese counterparts for follow-on accords aimed at bolstering recruitment and long-term academic cooperation. New understandings are anticipated in the near-future as collaboration expands.
Known officially as the “Sino-American 1+2+1 Dual Degree Program,” Humboldt State’s transpacific project enables Chinese students to study their freshman year at their native school, spend the two middle years at HSU, then return to China for their senior year and earn bachelor’s degrees from both universities.
China’s other HSU partner schools include Henan University, Inner Mongolia University, Long Dong University, Nanjing University of Technology, Pingdingshan University, and Zhongyuan University of Technology.
The linkages sustain Humboldt State’s long-term drive to internationalize the campus and encourage diversity and multicultural learning. Today, Ghosh said, HSU has more than 60 students from multiple countries, versus some 35 early in the decade.
“This program has enormous potential because it can serve as a springboard later in the 21st century for Humboldt State hubs in other parts of the world,” Ghosh explained. “There is potential to move beyond study-abroad programs and eventually create centers and institutes for research. In the longer run, too, lies the opportunity for international satellite campuses, perhaps with their own admissions offices and facilities for faculty research, language learning and cultural exchanges.”
HSU is among five additional institutions in the U.S named in 2006 to participate in the Sino-American “1+2+1” initiative by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), in tandem with the China Center for International Education Exchange (CCIEE).
The AASCU has 430 public college and university members from the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The CCIEE, headquartered in Beijing, is a non-profit founded in 1981 and registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs. It promotes the advancement of education in concert with 145 member institutions.