Tuesday June 30, 2015

Building Community Around the World

We believe building community begins with building relationships, one at a time. That's a mission that resonates in every corner of the globe.

In the Marianist tradition, we’ve always graduated students who combine competence with character and community-building skills. Yet graduates also need an international perspective to compete in today’s job market. We are poised to provide the world with graduates who can excel in their professions and collaborate in the workplace — locally and globally.

Fuyao Glass America Inc. believes in that philosophy, too. Fuyao is the largest Chinese investor in Ohio, the largest Chinese auto parts enterprise in the U.S. — and our newest global partner.

In January, as we were launching our first semester-long program at the University of Dayton China Institute in Suzhou Industrial Park, the company made a generous $7 million gift to support this stand-alone center in the heart of one of the fastest-growing innovation parks in the world.

With the backing of Suzhou Industrial Park officials, we opened the China Institute just three years ago and began with offering classes for students and short courses for engineers and professionals working for multinational companies in the park. Fuyao's gift will allow us to purchase the building and educate students for generations to come.

The building — slightly larger than Miriam Hall on campus — sits 7,000 miles away, but it’s become a home away from home to all those who study and conduct research there. Only two decades ago, this part of eastern China was rice fields and farmland. Today, it’s home to one-third of the world's Fortune 500 companies.

"Fuyao's gift is both visionary and bold. With a footprint here in Dayton and on the other side of the world in China, this company knows the power of intercultural partnerships,” said University of Dayton President Daniel J. Curran. “We live and work in a borderless world — and we’re preparing our students to be successful in the global workplace. Fuyao is our partner in that mission."

Junior chemical engineering major David Borth studied at UDCI in 2013 — and it changed his life. “When employers hear that you have been to China, they are intrigued and want to know all about it,” he says. “It speaks to what kind of person you are — that you are not just willing to go outside of your comfort zone, but are willing to go very far outside that comfort zone. Employers know that you are willing to challenge yourself and are not afraid to work around cultural barriers."

Just 75 miles from the world’s busiest port in Shanghai, Suzhou Industrial Park opened in 1994 as a cooperative venture between the governments of China and Singapore. Nearly two dozen universities from all over the globe have committed to establishing a presence here, but the University of Dayton was the first American one.

In December, the U.S. Ambassador to China dedicated a new American Cultural Center at UDCI. It’s the first to be established outside the campus of a Chinese university, which speaks volumes about our reputation for building bridges between the two countries.

Now, with the Fuyao gift, our work is taking root and we're securing the University of Dayton's place in the realm of global universities — one relationship at a time.

It's what we do best. 

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