Ohio Universitys international role
Melissa Rake & John Borhaug
Whether theyre in Germany,
Ecuador or Athens, Ohio, USA, students are learning more about themselves
and their world than ever before.
world atlas. Pink, green, purple, orange and yellow lines trail
the asymmetric edges of countries large and small. Thousands of
bold black dots representing the Earth’s most populous cities fight
for their rightful place on the surface of this crowded collage
of diverse nations.
at a map of southeastern Ohio. Small towns interrupt miles of loosely
populated land near the twisting Ohio border. Bright colors trace
the Appalachian Highway snaking through rural communities. You’ll
find Athens and Ohio University in tiny letters amid sweeping patches
of green symbolizing the dense Wayne National Forest.
two maps side-by-side, and the only correlation is the cartographer’s
color palette. But Ohio University’s relationship with the rest
of the world can’t be gleaned from maps. It only can be told through
the rich experiences of students and faculty who have crossed thousands
of miles and myriad time zones to make connections across the globe.
abroad student Mark Puskar photographs the Volkerschlacht-denkmal,
a monument in Leipzig, Germany.
began looking at global issues with a curious eye long before the
Soviet Union’s 1957 launch of the world’s first man-made satellite,
Sputnik, prompted an embarrassed U.S. government to begin investing
money in science and international studies programs. The institution
set into motion this longstanding commitment in 1895 with the graduation
of Japanese native Saki Taro Murayama, the University’s first international
conflict prevented the University from creating solid links with
higher education institutions abroad from the early 1900s to the
end of World War II. But during the early 1950s, Ohio University
President John Baker initiated the campus’ first scholarships for
international students, including some from communist countries.
Baker hoped the scholarships would demonstrate that people could
live and learn together with mutual understanding despite nations’
ideological differences. Soon after, Baker was selected by President
Eisenhower to serve as the chief U.S. delegate to the United Nations
Economic and Social Council.
the McCarthy era, we were offering scholarships to students from
East Germany, Yugoslavia, Poland and other communist countries,”
says Associate Provost for International Programs Josep Rota. “It
was a daring act for any university during that time.”
successors forwarded the agenda: Vernon Alden, who learned to speak
Japanese while in the U.S. Navy during WWII, oversaw the creation
of Ohio University’s Center for International Studies in 1964 and,
soon after, programs in African, Southeast Asian and Latin American
studies. Charles Ping, who expanded international programs during
his tenure from 1975 to 1994, is regarded as one of the nation’s
most authoritative speakers on why it’s important to globalize college
campuses. And in his seven years as president, Robert Glidden has
furthered international cooperation by establishing new links with
colleges and universities overseas and maintaining close ties with
alumni around the globe.
vigilance has produced relationships with 160 higher education institutions
worldwide, clearing the way for international students to study
here and creating paths for U.S. students to earn academic credit
in other countries.
1946, we’ve had presidents who’ve been very interested in and committed
to international education,” Glidden says, “and that certainly has
contributed to our success today.”