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Memorandum signing

Leipzig University President Beate A. Schücking and Ohio University President McDavis renew a Memorandum of Understanding in the Multicultural Center's multipurpose room in Baker Center on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012.

Photographer: Chris Franz

memorandum signing

Students and faculty who have been involved in Leipzig programs gathered in the Multicultural Center to witness the signing and formally welcome President Schücking to Ohio University's Athens campus.

Photographer: Chris Franz

memorandum signing

Originally signed on June 23, 1994, the agreement takes steps to ensure that students and faculty at both universities are well prepared for the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly interconnected world.

Photographer: Chris Franz

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Presidential visit celebrates 20-year partnership between OHIO and Leipzig University

Institutions renew Memorandum of Understanding during anniversary celebration


Leipzig University President Beate A. Schücking arrived in Athens to celebrate the 20-year partnership between Ohio University and Leipzig University. President Schücking and Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis marked the occasion with the renewal of an existing Memorandum of Understanding between the institutions on Monday afternoon.

Originally signed on June 23, 1994, the agreement takes steps to ensure that students and faculty at both universities are well prepared for the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly interconnected world.

"Together we have fostered a long-term friendship between Ohio University and the University of Leipzig. This relationship has been very productive and greatly benefitted our students and faculty, but also our two countries," President McDavis said. "We are very honored to play a small role in the remaking of a great university that is very integral to our university communities and academic experience for our students and faculty."

Approximately 100 students and faculty who have been involved in Leipzig programs gathered in the Multicultural Center to witness the signing and formally welcome President Schücking to Ohio University's Athens campus. The event marked a second round of celebrations for the universities, following a summer anniversary party at the University of Leipzig.

"The first half of the birthday cake was eaten in Leipzig in June. More than 20 of you students were there. Now the older ones among you are preparing the next generation, the younger ones, to follow the path you started," President Schücking said.

From Sept. 23-27, President Schücking plans to meet with a cross-section of Ohio University constituents, including representatives from the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, the College of Health Sciences and Professions, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and the Scripps College of Communication.

The visit will enable both institutions to explore new partnership opportunities for the future, according to Ming Li, interim executive director of the Center for International Studies.

The 20-year partnership between the University of Leipzig and Ohio University has been defined by the sharing of knowledge and cultural exchange, which is fostered through the Ohio-Leipzig European Center (OLEC) in Leipzig.

Created in 2000, OLEC provides Ohio University's second- and third-year students the chance to study the arts and sciences, as well as German language, at a historic European university. To date, more than 500 students from OHIO and Leipzig University have taken advantage of the opportunity to study at the partner institution.

"Our relationship with Leipzig University has provided many students and faculty with unique academic opportunities," Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit said. "I am often told by those who have studied, taught or researched there about the benefits they received from being at one of Europe's great universities."

The Leipzig-OHIO connection

Although the Ohio University partnership with Leipzig did not officially begin until 1992, the earliest ties came in the 1880s when two future Ohio University faculty members, John Pancoast Gordy and James E. Le Rossignol, went to study at Leipzig. They wrote their dissertations under the supervision of the psychologist Wilhelm Wundt, which led to Gordy receiving his doctorate from the University of Leipzig in 1884 and Le Rossignol acquiring his in 1894.

In 1992, the schools officially began their partnership under the direction of then-Provost Jim Bruning. Ralph Izard, former director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, and John Lewis Gaddis, former director of the Contemporary History Institute, spoke with contemporaries at the University of Leipzig and began coordinating academic areas between the schools.

In 2000, a major step was accomplished when the Ohio-Leipzig European Center (OLEC) was created. Each year, about 12 students from Ohio University take part in the OLEC program.