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.

Compton Selected As NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar

Not too many people can say they spent their summer engaged with NASA, but Jared Compton of Pikeville did just that. As a student in the Global Scholars Honors Program (GSP) at Chattanooga State Community College, Jared ‘s interest was piqued when he received an email from GSP director Amanda Bennett about an opportunity for interested students. “This opportunity called for community ... (click for more)

Boyd Buchanan School Unveils New Playscape For Elementary

Boyd Buchanan School has completed one of “the largest Elementary Parent Council funded projects ever,” according to Elementary Principal Gail Maddux. The school’s $90,000 new playscape design is inspired by children’s literature and contains storybook quotes throughout the area. “We took a nontraditional approach to the typical playground design,” said Ms. Maddux. “More than ... (click for more)

Residential Project At 1st And Cherry To Finish Out Units On Hill Above Market Street

More residential units are planned downtown near the riverfront on a steep lot at First and Cherry streets. The River City Company is currently seeking requests for proposals from developers for the steep 95-foot-by-65-foot lot behind the First and Market condos. River City officials said, "We are excited about how this parcel will put a finishing touch on this well established ... (click for more)

TBI Adds Jereme Little To Top 10 Most Wanted; Was Set Free By Judge Stern And Then Higher Court Overruled Her

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has added to its ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list Jereme Dannuel Little, who was freed by order of Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern, whose decision was recently reversed. Little is wanted by the Chattanooga Police Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for especially aggravated kidnapping. The TBI said, "Little has a history of ... (click for more)

Proud To Be A Conservative Conservationist

I was born and raised in Chattanooga and was brought up to be a Tennessee conservative. That means that my family conserved our spending, our resources, and yes, even our environment.  I think we were inspired to do so because Tennessee is one of the most beautiful places in the entire United States. We have stunning mountains, wild rivers and quiet backcountry. And many of ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why I Adore America

If Heather Cross weren’t married and didn’t have such a fine-looking family I’d swear I might propose. The dazzling lady just wrote a “By Gumbo! letter” to all the major news outlets in the world to inform them that half of the Pelican State is still submerged by “a 1,000-year flood” and where the heck are they with their cameras? She knows it is vital for the rest of America to ... (click for more)