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A group of incoming international graduate students pose for a photo with Rufus during the Aug. 18 International Graduate Student Orientation held in Baker University Center.

A group of incoming international graduate students pose for a photo with Rufus during the Aug. 18 International Graduate Student Orientation held in Baker University Center.

Photographer: Nick Claussen

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Ohio University welcomes international students to campus with messages of support


Ohio University welcomed its incoming class of international graduate students to campus on Friday, Aug. 18, and the students received a strong message of support from President M. Duane Nellis.

In his remarks to the students, President Nellis reflected on the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and condemned the violence and hatred, as well as the offensive comments that followed.

“I want you to know that Ohio University is a very welcoming community where our differences are celebrated,” President Nellis said. “Interactions between people from different nations and different cultures greatly enrich the college experience for all of our students.”

The University also released a statement on Friday stressing the importance of remaining steadfast in its commitment to community, inclusion, civil discourse and free speech. 

“This is not the time to divide, but to come together to reaffirm our commitment to our values as an inclusive community,” President Nellis, Interim Executive Vice President and Provost David Descutner, and Vice President for Student Affairs and Interim Chief Diversity Officer Jason Pina said in the statement.

During the orientation session, President Nellis also reflected on his time working abroad in the past and said that students benefit greatly from the opportunity to study abroad and interact with people from other countries and cultures.

In the last academic year, Ohio University had students from 113 different countries on campus. The incoming class of students arrive from 46 different countries. 

President Nellis also encouraged the new international students to get involved in campus life by joining organizations, attending events and taking part in special activities such as the International Dinner, which will be held on Oct. 1 this fall.

He also stressed that Ohio University faculty and staff members are there to help the students succeed.

“I hope you take advantage of all that Ohio University has to offer you, and I want you to know that we are all here to help you,” President Nellis said.

Ohio University’s international graduate students pose for a photo with President M. Duane Nellis, Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies Lorna Jean Edmonds, ISFS Interim Director Diane Cahill, ISFS staff and Rufus.

Ohio University’s international graduate students pose for a photo with President M. Duane Nellis, Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies Lorna Jean Edmonds, ISFS Interim Director Diane Cahill, ISFS staff and Rufus. Photo by Chetra Chap

Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies Lorna Jean Edmonds also spoke to the students during the orientation session and told them that their time at Ohio University will be a special time in their lives.

“Welcome to Ohio University! We are thrilled to have you here,” Edmonds said. “At Ohio University we aspire to create for you a unique opportunity to study and learn from engaged and talented faculty while living among, learning and sharing your insights and experiences with classmates and colleagues from around the world.”

“We want you to take advantage of the many opportunities available to you on campus, in Athens, across the country and around the world. The university experience is your playground to bring together your ideas, interactions, and hopes and dreams for a globalized future where cooperation, understanding and welcoming communities are the cornerstones for all of us to thrive and be successful. Be assured that you will learn a great deal, make lifelong friendships, and build global competencies and networks that will enable you to make our world a better place with confidence and optimism,” Edmonds said.

Many of the students at the session traveled thousands of miles to attend Ohio University, and Edmonds said that the University is proud to have them on campus.

One student explained during the session that it took her five days to travel from her home to Ohio University.

The orientation session, which was led by International Student and Faculty Services (ISFS) Interim Director Diane Cahill, was designed to introduce the students to the University while also allowing them to meet other students and to get to know some of the ISFS staff members. Rufus, the Ohio University mascot, was also on hand to welcome the students, who heard from a wide range of speakers during the morning event.

The Friday session for international graduate students is just one part of a variety of events for incoming international students. The orientation session for new international undergraduate students was held on Wednesday, Aug. 23. Other events being held as part of international student orientation include paperwork sessions, immigration regulation sessions, shopping trips, an ice cream social, a bowling night, campus tours, coffee socials and even a visit to the Kennedy Museum of Art.

For more information on the international student orientation and support services offered for international students throughout the academic year, please visit the ISFS website or call 740-593-4330.

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