Global gorillas honored at dinner
Marcus Clem | editor in chief
When they arrive, Pittsburg State’s international students tend to be confused, nervous and flatly lost. One student who came in January said, “It was so cold it made me cry.”
Yet, many internationals were united in reflecting what they say is an everlasting bond to the university and the community at International Programs and Services’ graduation dinner on Monday, Dec. 2.
“Thank you for being here for all of us and believing in us,” said Cecilia Idika-Kalu of Nigeria, graduate student in business. “I know that here, you will succeed in meeting your greatest dreams, or at least you will have tried.”
The dinner, where Cathy Lee Arcuino, director of international programs and services, served as master of ceremonies was held in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom of Overman Student Center. It had a capacity attendance.
Idika-Kalu was one of two internationals who delivered speeches after receiving honors for their accomplishments at Pitt State. The other was Miguelangel Diaz of Venezeula.
Mirth, centered on what several speakers characterized as the internationals’ unique situation at this institution, was a common element of the night.
“When I got here I didn’t expect that Pitt would be as tiny as it is,” said Diaz, senior in mathematics. “Yet, we have teachers and an environment to compete with bigger schools.”
Lynette Olson, university provost, emphasized the program’s mission to bring people and cultures together.
“We hope that you take with you a better understanding of America, Americans and in particular those of us who live in this faraway land of Southeast Kansas,” she said. “We want more people to come from your country to help us continue to learn and share these valuable experiences with them.”
Alheli Aranda of Paraguay provided piano music for the evening.
“Most Americans, when they graduate, have a house party or something,” said Aranda, senior in musical performance. “(Internationals) usually just go home and pack. This is the perfect closing. It gives us a perfect opportunity to see those we will not see anymore.”
The close of the evening’s events featured the distribution of International Knowledge and Experience (IKE) and Global Leadership Institute (GLI) awards.
Thirty-nine IKE and 12 GLI certificates were presented to a combination of American and international students.