Cleveland and Cuyahoga County Leaders Attend Opening Ceremony for Case Western Reserve University’s Center for International Affairs
President Barbara R. Snyder says newest part of the university represents foundation for future efforts
CLEVELAND – President Barbara R. Snyder marked the official opening of the Center for International Affairs in Tomlinson Hall on Thursday evening, Sept. 15, by telling a room full of guests, including government and university leaders, faculty members, staff and students, that the new center at Case Western Reserve University marks an important milestone in a strategic plan.
The university is clearly becoming more international and increasingly welcoming to students who arrive here from other lands. She and others at the ceremony said establishment of the center is only a beginning.
Snyder said the Case Western Reserve community, guided by Associate Provost for International Affairs David Fleshler, has begun "to catalyze the enormous interest that has existed on our campus" about collaboration in global initiatives. "It has been quite simply a wonderful snowball effect."
The proportion of undergraduate international students within the entering class at Case Western Reserve climbed in the last three years from about 2 percent of the incoming freshmen to this year about 10 percent, and the president said about 20 percent of graduate and professional students now come from other countries.
"We launched a campus-wide strategic planning process to engage faculty, staff and students in thinking about how we can most effectively enhance the international character of Case Western Reserve University," Snyder said. "So today we celebrate one of the fruits of those labors, the opening of this space, designating it for International Affairs. This building represents just the foundation of our efforts to come, not only our grand aspirations but also the key ingredients required to realize the details in our dream."
Fleshler told the gathering: "Our Center for International Affairs in addition to doing what I describe as foundational work on campus - study abroad and bringing international students here - is also about reaching out to the community."
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said at the event the new center is vital to the city's future.
"I want to congratulate President Snyder and Case Western Reserve University for the opening of this center. It's the right thing to do at the right time, as we look at our economy, attempting to create a regional economy that can compete globally to attract businesses from all over the world," the mayor said.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, who also attended the ceremony, praised Case Western Reserve for its bold forward thinking. He said the Cleveland area initially gained its strength and grew its population by doing business with other parts of the world and welcoming immigrants.
FitzGerald said the United States "has a choice to make about whether we are going to embrace international connections and engage with the word. I'm so pleased that one of our academic leaders, Case Western Reserve, is taking a real tangible step, to be a risk taker, an entrepreneur, and making a real commitment to this idea that I think we all agree with and believe in so much."