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Shepherd University unveils Office of International Affairs

By Staff | Nov 30, 2018

From left, Director of the Intensive English Language Program Maria Skowronski, Assistant Provost Virginia Hicks, Director of International Affairs Lois Jarman, Dr. Bob McMillan, Tia McMillan and Provost Scott Beard prepare to cut the ribbon on Nov. 14.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — As Shepherd University’s student body has grown over the years, the number of its international students have also grown. Currently, the university has about 55 international students, representing over a dozen countries from around the world.

To serve Shepherd’s entire student body well, university officials decided to create an Office of International Affairs for the international students. On Nov. 14, the office was officially opened for students’ use, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and map pinning, where the homes of all of the students were pinned on a world map.

“I cannot tell you how excited I am today — this is really a dream come true for me, to have a space like this for the kids. We have grown by leaps and bounds, and I am so thankful to be here,” said Director of International Affairs Lois Jarman, who said students can get help at the office and use its communal area to socialize with other students, both international and domestic.

According to Shepherd University Provost Scott Beard, the center will assist the university’s goal to produce well-rounded professionals who are prepared to make a difference in the world around them.

“At Shepherd, we are proud to be a public university that prepares students to take their place as leaders, innovators and motivators,” Beard said, mentioning the Department of Political Science changed its name to the Department of Political Science and Global Studies, as part of the university’s expanded, international focus. “We used to have one office for international students. Here, we have staff, a lounge area and a small classroom for instruction in English. I want to say congratulations on having this space, where international students can grow and move along.”

For Assistant Provost for Community Outreach Virginia Hicks, seeing part of Gardiner Hall’s first floor being used to help international students was an exciting moment.

“When I heard the international program was going to move into the building, I was so excited,” Hicks said. “The international students bring such a great energy here — there are so many wonderful programs in this building, but we are proud the international program is able to move to this building.”

According to Global Shepherd Students President Henry Navarette Mendez, Dr. Bob McMillan and his wife, Tia McMillan, are two of the people who made the new office come into being.

“I am so happy and thankful for all of you. Our goal is to close the gap between what it means to be an international student, and what it means to be a domestic student,” Mendez said. “What does this place mean? It means that we have a place to call home, a place where we belong. I am so happy and thankful for the McMillans.”

In recognition of the McMillans’ efforts, Director of Global Studies Aart Holtslag presented Phi Beta Delta medals to the couple, during the ceremony.

“Two out of three of our children, who are fluent in Spanish, went abroad for much of their education, and it has made them the people they are today,” Bob said. “We want to congratulate our international students for coming here and joining in our community. Now, let’s bring a lot more.”