BGSU, Xi’an exchange students and faculty reunite
Many years have passed, but the warm feelings remain for participants in the Bowling Green State University Xi’an International Studies University (XISU) exchange. About 50 former students, faculty and staff who were part of the exchange gathered June 1 at Mileti Alumni Center for a reunion, where they greeted old friends and caught up with one another.
Current BGSU and XISU leaders also attended, including President Rodney Rogers and Vice President Wu Yaowu, along with Drs. Raymond Craig, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Dawn Shinew, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, whose colleges were involved in the exchange. Also there were Drs. Marcia Salazar-Valentine, executive director of International Programs and Partnerships, and Mark Seals, director of the School of Teaching and Learning.
“It was terrific,” said Dr. Lester Barber of the reunion. A professor emeritus of English and former executive assistant to the president, Barber was the initiator and one of the organizers of the original exchange in 1983 who had taught in Xi’an with his wife, Susan, professor emeritus of health, physical education and recreation. “It was genuine, honest and moving, and very comfortable. The main feeling that came from the presentations was gratitude to the University for the opportunity to study in the U.S., and to BGSU faculty in particular for helping them go on to successful careers. And for us, the experience in China changed our lives.”
Dr. Bei Cai, who initiated the reunion, is now an associate professor of communication studies at Kent State University. She reconnected with her BGSU adviser, Dr. Alberto González, professor of communication, at the daylong event, which included a campus tour and luncheon.
Over the life of the former exchange program, more than 40 BGSU faculty/staff members and graduate teaching assistants taught at XISU, and about 30 other BGSU faculty and administrators made shorter visits. More than 40 faculty members from the English Department at XISU came to BGSU to pursue graduate study and teach or work in University departments, and a small number of BGSU students went to XISU to study the Chinese language.