History and Information


PIC Mission

To engage the University community in meaningful international experiences which foster an appreciation and awareness of diverse cultures, people, and ideas. 


Strategic Plan & Goals Summary

A summary of the Padnos International Center's strategic goals and objectives:  




Policy on Study Abroad Providers

Detailed information on GVSU's open study abroad policy and affiliate study abroad providers. 

Read More about Study Abroad Providers


Forum on Education Abroad

The Forum's 'Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad'. 

Read More about the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad

Global Connections: Archive

Global Connections is a publication that highlights global news, events and initiatives at Grand Valley State University.

Read More about Global Connections

PIC Scholarships & Grants

Scholarships and grants are available to help students with the costs of a study abroad program. 

To learn more about Padnos International Center scholarships, please watch the PIC Scholarship Video 

Are you interested in donating to a GVSU study abroad scholarship? Please visit https://www.gvsu.edu/pic/give

Study Abroad - Scholarships Video

History of the Padnos International Center


Grand Valley State Colleges established the Office of International Studies to centralize responsibility for the development and administration of international exchange activities
sponsored by GVSC. Ezra (“Easy”) Gearhart, Chair of Modern Languages, is hired by new President A. Lubbers to lead Office of International Studies.

First GVSU faculty-led study abroad program, to Klagenfurt, Austria. In subsequent years, programs to Paris, France, and Guadalajara, Mexico, were added. Graduate
Assistants to teach modern languages were regularly funded with Fulbright grants. Gearhart continues to head Office of International Studies, in his role as Dean of the
College of Graduate Studies (OIS is a reporting unit).

Office of International Studies given the status of an independent institute: Global Education Institute (GEI). Leadership: R. Michael Haviland. First partnership with University of Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.

Partnership agreement signed with Cracow University of Economics (Poland).

GEI became the Center for International Studies, with the purpose of assisting the colleges to achieve its goal of “graduating students who are responsible members of modern society; knowledgeable of our Western heritage and appreciative of other cultures.” Leadership: R. Michael Haviland. Some key faculty-led programs include a program to Spain (Prof. Antonio Herrera) and to Krakow, Poland (Prof. John Batchelder).

Office of International Affairs founded. Leadership: Dorothy Armstrong (half-time position, reporting to Provost Glenn Niemeyer). Regular symposia are held with partner in Yugoslavia: University of Sarajevo.

OIA becomes “Office of International Studies.” Housed in ARC; leadership: Alan Walczak (half-time position, reporting to Dean of Academic Resources, Mary Seeger).

After Internationalization Task Force recommendation, OIS names first “Dean of International Education:” Louis Olivier (reporting to Provost Glenn Niemeyer).

Dean of IE, L. Olivier, resigns in June 1995. Al Walczak, Director of OIA, interim leadership. Faculty exchanges with Albanian institutions are underway (involving Social
Work Professor Irv Berkowitz and others). Grand Valley began a relationship with East China University of Science & Technology in Shanghai. This agreement allowed the exchange of professors between these two universities. The first professor to teach abroad was Steve Matchett who taught a 10-week graduate Chemistry course there in 1998.

Brenda Robinson named Dean of International Education (until 2000). Dean of IE is fulltime position, reporting to Provost Glenn Niemeyer.

First of two one-year grants from US Information Agency to support undergraduate students from Bosnia at GVSU

Office of International Affairs renamed “Barbara H. Padnos International Center.” GVSU hosts Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence, Prof. Kwadwo Opoku-Agyemang, from University of Cape Coast, Ghana (for full academic year).

Wendy Wenner, Acting Dean of International Education. End of two years of USIA funding for Bosnian students.

Second Internationalization Task Force makes its recommendations. George Kieh appointed Dean of International Education. OIA becomes “Division of International Education,” with PIC its major “unit.” First partnership with African University: University of Cape Coast (Ghana).

Wendy Wenner appointed as Acting Dean of International Education; Mark Schaub as Asst. Dean of Int’l. Education. First year of three-year US State Dept. grant to support collaboration between GVSU and University of Cape Coast, Ghana. International Student Services (Headed by Coordinator, Kate Stoetzner) moved from Dean of Students office to PIC.

Re-organization into College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Schaub named Executive Director of PIC.

End of 3-year grant from US Dept. of State (UCC-Ghana). Padnos Int’l. Center moves into the newly built Lake Ontario Hall.

Start of 4-year grant project, STAIR: Studies in Trans-Atlantic International Relations. FIPSE-support for dual degrees for GVSU students, going to University of Debrecen (Hungary) and Cracow University of Economics (Poland).

Delegations from National Taiwan Normal University, Cracow Univ. of Economics, and Univ. of Cape Coast attend the 50th anniversary celebration for GVSU, participate in August convocation. Rector Roman Niestroj awarded Honorary Degree at December commencement.

First university-wide partnership with South American University: Universidad del Bio-Bio (Concepcion, Chile).

Updated, Jan. 2011

Page last modified September 6, 2018