Colgate Partners with Xiamen University



President Jeffrey Herbst signed a memorandum of understanding with Xiamen University (XMU), located in China on October 12. The memorandum, also signed by XMU President Zhu Chongshi during Herbst’s visit, is an agree-ment to “promote cooperation and the advancement of academic and educational exchanges” between Colgate and XMU.

In the first instance of this new understanding, Chinese students from Xiamen will visit Colgate beginning the summer of 2013. Herbst said that details about a full exchange, in which students from Colgate would be able to attend XMU and vice ver-sa during the academic year, still needed to be worked out but he hoped faculty exchanges and re-search collaboration would result from this arrangement.

“[This agreement] is an exam-ple of growing internationaliza-tion which we are trying to push in all kinds of different ways. China is especially important just given its demographic heft and its position in the world, and we are looking for ever more ways in which we can provide students opportunities there. We are hop-ing that these links will do all that,” Herbst said.

The opportunity to connect with XMU became apparent after Associate Professor of Eco-nomics Cheryl Long, Classics Professor Robert Garland and Professor of History and Afri-cana and Latin American Stud-ies Graham Hodges visited the university in May 2011. The trip was part of an initiative Herbst put under way to find lo-cations that might be interesting for students to go for extended periods abroad.

“Although Colgate has a study abroad pro-gram which goes to Pe-king University, both ad-ministrators and faculty members felt that China would be a good place to study abroad for students who are not majoring in Chinese,” Garland said. “Our trip there was a fact finding visit and we went to a number of sites, a number of universities.”

Long and Hodges had connections to XMU and had visited before. Garland, who had never been there before, was very impressed by the Chinese university.

“Xiamen Univer-sity first and foremost is clearly a very well ap-pointed, well-funded university with a per-fect location, and a stunning campus. We were very impressed by it and hoped that there would be a connection between our President and the President of Xiamen and that seems to have born fruit,” Garland said.

Hodges, who first visited XMU in 1998 and again in 2006 as a Fulbright Professor, said he was extremely impressed by the American Studies Program there and that he hopes the long term goals of the partnership will include the top-notch exchanges of students and faculty.

After returning from their visit, all three professors prepared a report to Herbst which recommended further contact between the two schools.

Herbst said that in the report, XMU stood out to him because of its high standards, its good lo-cation, the personal ties there and the university’s mutual eagerness to establish a connection.

“More so perhaps than other Chinese uni-versities, XMU has always had an outward ori-entation. It is a university which really wants to move forward. It is much bigger than us with 40,000 students but by Chinese standards, that is rather small. I also had a chance to meet with faculty, the President, the Vice-President, and they expressed great enthusiasm for ties with us,” Herbst said.

This connection will start this summer when at least 25 XMU students visit Colgate for four weeks. The cultural exchange is designed to fa-miliarize XMU students with American culture, political and financial systems and the English language. Each week, stu-dents will attend multiple talks and lectures and also take off-campus trips to New York City, Washing-ton D.C., Cornell Uni-versity, Niagara Falls and Cooperstown. Students will also have opportuni-ties to connect with the Hamilton and Colgate community through visits to local families and the Hamilton Rotary Club.

Long, who is cur-rently a visiting profes-sor at XMU and is the director of Colgate’s Asian Studies Program, could not be reached for comment but she has been helping organize this summer program

Although in the short term Herbst be-lieves this program will have no direct financial effect on Colgate, he does believe it will be advantageous to the town of Hamilton since there will be a larger population on campus during the summer.

Colgate will also be reaping the benefits of this agreement.

“It is a very exciting moment for Col-gate,” Garland said. “There is no discipline that would not benefit from a connection with a Chinese colleague so I am hoping there will be a broad endorsement of Presi-dent Herbst’s initiative which I think is very far sighted and very creative and has all sorts of potential.”

Contact Sarah Chandler at [email protected].