In May, I traveled to Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria for the Board meeting and 25th commencement ceremony of the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG), where I have served as a trustee since 2016, and where I was recently elected as Board Chair. This new role is an awesome responsibility, given AUBG’s mission to foster democracy, and the continuing support the institution receives from the United States government. Modeled on the best traditions of American higher education, AUBG was the first liberal arts undergraduate institution in Eastern Europe.
So how does this relate to Saint Rose? Our strategic plan prioritizes global connectedness as one of five goals, which means that we embrace national and international diversity and promote intercultural learning and global perspectives. Because this is such an important part of higher education in the 21st century, some of my work as president has focused on building global connections. For example, I hosted a delegation of higher education leaders from China, that later led to a memorandum of understanding with several Chinese institutions. I also visited the African Leadership Academy in South Africa, and we have welcomed several of their graduates as Saint Rose students. Last week, I met on campus with potential new partners from Vietnam.
Global connectedness also means reconnecting and maintaining relationships with international alumni. In this newsletter, you will read about Jesus Valbuena Garcia ’93, a successful Madrid-based professional communicator, who I first visited in Spain in 2014, and who now serves on our International Program Leadership Council. Last month, I met with Julian Lipinski ’18, who came to Saint Rose from Australia to learn about his new career in finance.
As I said a few days ago when I spoke at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Summit in Boston, promoting global connectedness as president means demonstrating my commitment through action. That is why I work on global partnerships that will enrich the educational experiences of our students. That is why I engage with international alumni. That is also why, when called upon to assume a leadership role at AUBG, I agreed to serve.
Thank you for your commitment to Saint Rose. No matter where you are from or where life has taken you, we appreciate your efforts to help us build meaningful relationships around the globe.