Dirksens Represent Lee University At Henan Centennial

Thursday, November 15, 2012
Murl and Carolyn Dirksen pose in front of a backdrop of institutions participating in the centennial celebration of Henan University.
Murl and Carolyn Dirksen pose in front of a backdrop of institutions participating in the centennial celebration of Henan University.

Drs. Carolyn and Murl Dirksen were guests at the centennial of Henan University in Kaifeng, China, earlier this fall. 

While there, they represented Lee University at a convention of two international higher education groups at SIAS University in Xinzheng, which is also in the Henan province. The gathering there, of the International Association of Universities and the Association of Universities in Asia and the Pacific, conducted business and then went as an honored delegation to the centennial celebration.

“It was amazing,” said Dr. Carolyn Dirksen, who is vice president for Academic Affairs at Lee, and also an honorary professor at Henan University. “They stopped traffic in a city of five million people so our bus could get to the ceremony.”

The Dirksens spent a year teaching English at Henan University through the English Language Institute in 1984 and began a relationship with the institution that has been developing ever since. 

She said of their original work there, “It was really one of the first exchange relationships between a university in the U.S. – particularly a Christian university – and a university in China. This country and its people, especially those we worked with at these two colleges, have held a special place in our hearts since then.”

In the recent ceremonies, the Dirksens received honor as official delegates but also as old friends; in turn they honored the host school celebrating one hundred years. As official Lee representatives, they presented a crystal flame as a congratulatory gift to Henan University’s president, Lou Yuangong.

"We were blown away by how spectacular the celebration was and by the feeling of welcome. It was inspiring,” Dr. Dirksen said.

Centennials being rare, Henan had reason to pull out all the stops.  Lee University will celebrate the same milestone in five years.  

Originally founded to train Chinese scholars to study abroad, Henan University began teaching Chinese as a second language in 1985. Since then, more than 3,000 overseas students have been admitted. Going back as far as 1986, students from Lee have studied at Henan University as part of Lee’s exchange, and Lee graduate Callie Smith, is currently teaching there.  Lee is also hosting a student from Henan, Yan Wei.

Presently, Henan University maintains 11 branches of learning: liberal arts, science, engineering, economics, management, law, philosophy, education, history, agriculture and medicine. It consists of 26 schools and teaching departments. 

SIAS International University is located in Xinzheng, a suburb of Zhengzhou in Henan Province. Founded with less than $2 million, it has grown from 250 students to 16,000 students, many of whom say they chose SIAS because of the American-style campus life. 

PHOTOS:  

Carolyn Dirksen presents President Lou Yuangong of Henan University with a crystal flame as a token of congratulations from Lee University.
Carolyn Dirksen presents President Lou Yuangong of Henan University with a crystal flame as a token of congratulations from Lee University.

Lee University Welcomes New Faculty

Lee University welcomed 14 new faculty members this fall, including eight from among the Schools of Music, Nursing, and Religion, along with the Helen DeVos College of Education and the Squires Library.  Lenena Brezna joins the Lee faculty as a lecturer in voice. Prior to Lee, Ms. Brezna taught music appreciation and was a voice instructor at the University of Memphis. She ... (click for more)

Tennessee Treasury Department To Host Series Of Webinars On Saving For College

In celebration of College Savings Month, the Tennessee Treasury Department wants to help make college planning easier. Beginning Sept. 10, the department will host a series of free web-based seminars - or webinars - on topics related to college savings. These webinars will include information about the TNStars 529 College Savings Plan, which allows people to save money for children’s ... (click for more)

Rhasean Lowry, 34, Charged In Death of 3-Year-Old Girl

Rhasean Lowry, 34, was arrested for abusing a three-year-old girl, and then criminal homicide after she died. Last Tuesday, the Chattanooga Police Department was called on a suspected child abuse case. Lowry took the victim to a local hospital and he stated the victim fell down steps. Doctors advised that the victim’s injuries were the result of blunt force trauma consistent ... (click for more)

City IDB Member Who Made Motion For $9 Million Black Creek TIF Had Not Lived In City For Years

A City Industrial Development Board (IDB) member who made the motion to approve a controversial $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) had not lived in the city for years, City Attorney Wade Hinton confirmed. Chris Ramsey, a BlueCross BlueShield official, was not present at an IDB meeting on Tuesday morning. Five other board members were. Citizen Helen Burns ... (click for more)

Decimating The Chattanooga Public Library - And Response

Corinne Hill claims that the library is just undergoing a normal weeding process for eliminating books.  She has bragged that she's responsible for the elimination of over 100,000 books - with more to go. "Normal" weeding is not rampant throwing away.  Yes, books go to the Friends for their sale - where they get $2 for a $75 book and thousands wind up being recycled ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)