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In the mid-1980's Dorothy Armstrong was involved in the Office of International Affairs, now known as the Padnos International Center. She was appointed the Director of International Studies in 1985 and was given the charge to develop a University partnership with an institution in the United Kingdom.  Here's her account of the early history of this program. Click here to hear her account.

He exchange program quickly launched due to the efforts of Dorothy Armstrong, David Fyfe, Brian Curry, and many others who were eager to build cultural exchanges with universities around the world.

The first recorded participants went to Kingston University (previously, Kingston Polytechnic) during the summer of 1986.  After the summer program in 1986, Bob Godfrey from Kingston Polytechnic made a visit to GVSU to connect with the institutions that had sent students to the summer school.  Brian Curry, Professor of Biomedical Sciences, served as his host during his visit.  This was the start of the biomedical science exchanges that continue today. This partnership has seen involvement from departments all across the university from biomedical sciences, health sciences, nursing, English, history, writing, communications, business, public administration, criminal justice, student life, art, career services, counseling, facilities, financial aid, computer & information systems, music, geography and planning, crew, movement sciences, alumni relations, engineering, and more.


Significant Developments  


1985/86 Dorothy Armstrong and David Fyfe meet to discuss the possibility of developing an institutional exchange program.


1986     Earliest record of participants in the Kingston Summer School.


1988     Earliest record of semester exchange participants.


1992     Don Williams and Mike Payne led the first faculty-led program to Kingston University during the summer.  


1996     Ginger Randall and Dale Schriemer served as the first recorded faculty and staff exchange participants through the "Faculty/Staff Exchange Program."  Numerous faculty and staff participated in international activities prior to this date, but this was the start of the Faculty/Staff Exchange Grant Program, as we know it today.  


2000     GVSU faculty put together an exhibition titled  "Parallel Lines: Grand valley State University Art and Design Faculty Traveling Exhibit" Dates: June 29-July 29, 2000  at the Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University      


Since 1996, GVSU has hosted more than 40 colleagues from Kingston University.  Additionally, more than 40 faculty and staff from GVSU have benefited from educational and cultural exchanges at Kingston University.  


The exchange program with Kingston University has seen tremendous successes over the years and continues to serve out communities in meaningful ways.  To date, more than 1000 GVSU students have spent time at Kingston University either as part of the semester exchange, faculty-led program, sport competition or through the art exchange.  The partnership with Kingston University continues to grow with more than 45 semester exchange students participating each year.   


In April 2012, the next agreement will be signed when we welcome Kingston University's Vice Chancellor, Dr. Julius Weinberg to GVSU.  The Board of Trustees has voted to confer upon him an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at the afternoon commencement ceremony on Saturday, April 28, 2012.