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Alumni reminisce, honor educators at Center for International Studies reunion


The Ohio University Center for International Studies (CIS) celebrated its past, present and future with jubilant alumni at its well-attended reception on May 12 in Washington, D.C.

“I saw former students of mine from as far back as late '80s!” said Steve Howard, director of the Center for International Studies. “I was also impressed with how far some had traveled to get to the event.”

About 65 alumni and their guests attended the reception, which provided an opportunity for emotional reunions and new friendships.

“All of our MA programs were represented, including International Administrative Studies, which was offered about 25 years ago,” Howard said.

Center for International Studies alumni and friends pose for a photo during a reunion in Washington, D.C., on May 12.

Center for International Studies alumni and friends pose for a photo during a reunion in Washington, D.C., on May 12.

“It was an amazing evening,” added Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies Lorna Jean Edmonds. “It was truly remarkable to see the impact that the Center for International Studies has had on the lives of these alumni, and also to hear about the important work that these alumni are involved in around the world.”

“I was moved by seeing how passionate the alumni are about OHIO,” Edmonds said. “We had a magnificent evening visiting, and the alumni shared their experiences about the Center.”

The keynote address was delivered by Bob Walter, the retiring director of the International Studies Development (IDS) program. Walter, who began his tenure at OHIO in 1968 as a geography professor, has served as the IDS director since 2012. During his distinguished career at OHIO, Walter also served as the director of the African Studies Program from 1978-1983 and director of the Development Studies Program (the predecessor of the IDS program) from 1989-1997.

“My time at Ohio University has offered me tremendous opportunities to grow and change as new opportunities arose and new directions opened,” said Walter. “The Center for International Studies, and especially IDS, represented the units in which I could build, sculpt and develop a program of which I am proud and think it can easily be one of the best in the U.S. I have been blessed with tremendous students, courtesy of this program.”

Bob Walter was honored during the reception for his dedication to Center for International Studies students and alumni.

Bob Walter was honored during the reception for his dedication to Center for International Studies students and alumni.

At the end of Walter’s keynote, IDS alumni stood up and spoke about how Walter and the IDS program led to their success. 

“Universally, the alumni were congratulatory, offering very kind words of gratitude and thanks, as well as regrets to see me retire,” said Walter. “I received some incredible stories of ways that their time in my classes and in the program has changed them, helped them, clarified their career path, and helped them set goals.”

Edmonds, Howard and other faculty and staff members also recognized Walters for his six decades worth of service to Ohio University. Walter has served as a dedicated faculty member who was always willing to assist his students and alumni in any way possible.

The reception also honored J. Norman Parmer, the first director of the Center for International Studies, who passed away on Jan. 26, 2016. Parmer was instrumental in the success of the Center for International Studies and was remembered fondly by alumni, faculty and staff.

The results of Parmer’s work, along with the efforts of Walter, Howard and many other CIS leaders, can be seen in the impact that CIS graduates are making around the world.

For more information on the Center for International Studies, please call 740-593-1840 or log onto www.ohio.edu/global/cis

This article was provided by the Office of Global Affairs and International Studies.