Graham Spanier Leads Penn State Trip to China

The life of Penn State President Graham Spanier might be busy, but it’s sure not boring.

This weekend our fearless leader got a chance to hobnob with the indefatigable Wolf Blitzer, now an honorary graduate of Penn State, not to mention countless other graduating seniors, parents, and alumni.

Then, with in all likelihood just a few hours of sleep and many hours of BlackBerrying, Spanier and an entourage of some of Penn State’s highest administrators left on a trip to China.

Penn State has made no secret of its strategic plan to realize the university’s potential as a global university. This current trip to China — though Nixonian it is not — is indeed another rung in that progression towards international recognition.

The main event of Spanier’s trip is the consummation of an agreement with Peking University for a collaboration involving research, faculty and student opportunities, according to Director of Public Information Lisa Powers.

“Creating a community of international scholars that can work on global challenges is an exciting opportunity for our faculty and our students,” said Powers.

The Penn State contingent also includes: Dr. Michael Adewumi, Vice Provost for Global Programs; Dean David Hall of the College of IST; Tom Richard, Director of the Institutes of Energy and the Environment; and Dean Dan Larson of the Eberly College of Science.

The exchange this week will involve faculty-led seminars about research endeavors with the hope of initiating a bilateral exchange of ideas and information between the two institutions.

Powers said that Spanier is also meeting with key alumni and potential students in Beijing. Hey, if you have some sky miles, you might even to make the reception with him tomorrow night in the Haidian District.

Penn State’s overall connection with China is quite broad; Chinese students make up the largest portion of the university’s international student population and their numbers continue to grow. The university also hopes that partnerships such as this lead to more opportunities for abroad and other international experiences, in addition to the aforementioned research opportunities.

Spanier leaves Beijing tomorrow.

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