Webster University at NAFSA: A Photo Essay
Webster was a lead sponsor for the annual international education convention
More than 8,000 people visited the annual NAFSA conference on international education in St. Louis from May 27 through May 31, and during their visit all had some exposure to Webster University. Webster, which was a lead sponsor of the conference, hosted numerous events including several educational sessions, a speech by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Annan Kofi, a dinner for University presidents, a night of fun at the City Museum, and a night at a Cardinals baseball game.
Below are just a few of the many photos that were captured during the week.
As attendees headed to the luggage area at Lambert St. Louis International Airport, they were greeted by a Webster sign welcoming them to St. Louis. The above photo was sent via Twitter by one attendee who added “@websteru Could you be more cool than to welcome us to ‘nafsa13?'”
A different version of the airport sign also was placed on billboards on the route from the aiport to the America's Center in downtown St. Louis. Numerous attendees also photographed this from their taxi cabs and posted the pictures on Facebook and Twitter.
On opening day, several thousand visitors went through the exhibition hall and were greeted by Webster's high-tech information booth. Webster's high-tech double-sized booth included two video monitors and an interactive touch-screen control panel that allowed attendees to view information and videos about Webster or check their e-mail. Visitors also were able to learn about the Gorlok, as the mascot spent most of the day on the convention floor.
A group of NAFSA attendees from universities from around the world took a tour of the Webster Groves campus and learned about the many international programs offered by Webster University. Above, Provost Julian Schuster explains Webster University's mission to the visitors.
President Elizabeth “Beth” Stroble addresses a packed hall just before Kofi Annan's speech. Approximately 5,000 people were there to hear the opening session. “St. Louis is the city known as the Gateway to the West. Today I expand that phrase and say welcome to St. Louis, gateway to the world,” Stroble said. “The St. Louis region welcomes students from 146 countries to a diverse community of 49 higher education institutions. Missouri ranks 13th among 50 states for numbers of international students, and those enrollments are growing – up 6.3 percent in the past year to over 16,000 students.”
Kofi Annan, the former general secretary of the United Nations, spoke to nearly 5,000 people about his career in the UN and his views on the necessity of education to address many of the world's problems. Annan's speech was sponsored by Webster.
Students, faculty and staff from the Confucius Institute demonstrated the art of Chinese Calligraphy and also performed a traditional Chinese dance with costumes and drums. Above, a staff member writes out the name of another University in Chinese at the request of a NAFSA visitor. Later that day, Bill Lynch, the resident director of Webster's London campus, Ron Daniel, the academic director at Webster's Geneva campus, Office of Study Abroad Assistant Director Kim McGrath, and Professor Bruce Umbaugh, from the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Philosophy, delivered a presentation on “Integrating Global Learning in the U.S. Undergraduate Curriculum.” Grant Chapman also presented on “Transnational Education: Models & Measures of Success.” That afternoon, Dean Benjamin Akande spoke at the “Exploring Global Citizenship” luncheon. Just a few blocks away, Provost Julian Schuster welcomed members of the Bilateral Fulbright Commission as they held their meeting at Webster's downtown campus location in the Old Post Office building.
Wednesday evening was equally busy for Webster. The University sponsored the President's Day activities across the street from the Conference, where several dozen university presidents from around the world had a reception, a dinner, and then heard a speech from Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, College Park. President Stroble welcomed all the University presidents to St. Louis during the President's Day dinner and each president at the dinner received a copy of the May issue of “Smart Business” magazine, which features Stroble on its cover.
A few blocks away, Webster employees welcomed NAFSA attendees to the City Museum for “Culture Night,” where they were allowed to crawl through the tubes and tunnels, slip down the many adult-sized slides, and explore the attraction for several hours while being treated to hors d'oeuvres and beverages. Above, two NAFSA attendees crawl through some of the adult-sized tubes at the Museum.
On Thursday, the convention started with a presentation on “The Next Big Thing: Emerging Countries for International Students” by Calvin Smith, Webster's director of International Recruitment. By lunch time, members of Webster's national championship chess team played against NAFSA attendees. The team members were given a maximum of one minute for all their moves per each game, while the NAFSA challengers were allowed five minutes per game. Above, the Gorlok and Chess Coach Susan Polgar watch as Chess Team Member and Webster Student Ray Robson play against a NAFSA attendee.
In the evening, President Stroble played host at the Old Post Office campus location to members of “Study Missouri,” a grassroots organization that encourages international education among Missouri college students. Above, Dr. Elizabeth Stroble is pictured with Dennis Golden, president of Fontbonne University, and Dr. Mark Lombardi, president of Maryville University.
While Dr. Stroble was hosting Study Missouri, Provost Julian Schuster was just a few blocks away at Busch Stadium hosting a VIP visit to a Cardinal's game. The guests with the Provost were nearly 40 deans, directors and managers representing universities from around the world. Pictured above, Dr. Schuster is interviewed on KMOX radio, a station that draws a St. Louis audience of 250,000 to one-half million listeners during Cardinal games, but also is syndicated to other stations during the games and can potentially reach nearly 21 million baseball fans per game.
That night, a storm moved through the area, surprising many NAFSA attendees who were exploring the St. Louis area, bringing a new level of appreciation to Webster, as Webster had hired a fleet of Pedicabs – pedal powered cabs – that NAFSA attendees could use for free during the week. Above is one of about a dozen tweets that mentioned the cabs that night and how they helped people escape the rain.
The convention ended Friday after a presentation from Hannah Verity, director of global programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Anne Browning, the program director in the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology, on “Global Hybrid Courses: Online learning enhancing short-term study abroad.”
“NAFSA provided the opportunity for Webster to raise awareness, strengthen international partnerships, and further build study abroad and international student affiliates,” said Grant Chapman, Webster University's Associate VP Academic Affairs and Director International Programs. “The President's message to the thousands of participants, the Provost's message to Fulbright Commission leaders, the multiple academic presentations by faculty and staff, and the personal interaction at the exhibit booth and networking receptions, all provided the intended result that international educators from all over the world now know Webster University as the truly global university with close to one hundred years of history in the St. Louis community.”