Padnos International Center History


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 F. ("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 fulltimeposition, reporting to Provost Glenn Niemeyer.

First of two one-year grants from US Information Agency to support undergraduatestudents 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 February 9, 2016