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Students and scholars from Wyoming, the nation and the world will reap the benefits offered by the new Cheney International Center dedicated today at the University of Wyoming.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, his wife Lynne and other Wyoming dignitaries attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the 20,000-square foot Cheney International Center, located on the west wing of the former Student Health Service Building.
Matched by the state of Wyoming, the Cheney's gift totals $6.4 million, with $3 million earmarked for the building and $3.4 million for scholarships.
"It's very gratifying to us to see this wonderful facility and to know about the many projects Wyoming students are going to be undertaking around the world," Dick Cheney said. Lynne Cheney added, "UW students have global contributions to make, and they will learn so much that they can bring back to our wonderful state."
"Enhancing international programs has been on our agenda for years," UW President Tom Buchanan said. "But the Cheneys have taken our vision and given it the momentum it deserves. Through their generous gift, we now have a state-of-the-art facility to house all our international programs. The Cheneys have also funded a scholarship endowment to support study abroad opportunities for UW students.
"I am happy to tell you that the UW Foundation is going to lead a further campaign effort to increase this endowment from $3 million to $10 million. This will ensure study abroad opportunities for students for years to come," Buchanan said.
The Cheney International Center is the home of all of UW's international offices -- the International Programs office, International Students and Scholars office and the International Studies degree program, as well as English as a Second Language programs.
"Having all international offices on campus in one place will allow UW students and faculty to enjoy shared resources and lively cultural interactions," said Anne Alexander, UW International Programs director. "The center allows UW students and faculty to find all things global in one location and serves as the heart of international education on campus."
Alexander added that the center meets the longstanding goal of bringing together in one place UW's global education efforts, a priority in UW's second academic plan (2004-09). She said that research shows that students who study abroad have "extremely enhanced problem-solving skills" and that the university stresses the importance of international opportunities.
"In the complex world that we live in today, it is absolutely essential that our students be able to access those skills," Alexander said. "Besides, the plain fact is that studying abroad changes people -- it changes their outlook, their views of other cultures and their whole concept of what it means to be a citizen."
The Cheney family gift enhanced the landscaping and plaza area outside the international center. The landscape work evokes the native landscapes of southeast Wyoming, with granite boulders and native flowers and trees.
The UW International Board of Advisors also recognized the Cheneys' contributions by awarding them the Outstanding Achievement in International Affairs by Wyoming Citizens, established in 2001. Previous recipients were ambassadors Mike Sullivan, Tom Stroock, David Nicholas and Francois Dickman, along with educators Lewis Bagby and Ann Tollefson.
Posted on Thursday, September 10, 2009