The Lee University Financial Aid Office hosted Christmas Around the World, a party for international students who were unable to travel home for the holidays.
“We live in Taiwan, so we don’t have family here,” said freshman Yuki Bai. “This is a good event to bring us together to celebrate.”
Several staff and faculty, along with their families, gathered in the Paul Conn Student Union to celebrate the season of giving with students hailing from Nigeria, China, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. Each student received a gift bag filled with items provided by members of the Lee family.
“It’s like home away from home,” said Grace Adeshina, a freshman from Nigeria. “You have a moment when that homesickness stops for a while because you feel like you are in a family.”
The evening included dinner for all in attendance, with a welcome from Vice President for Enrollment Phil Cook and various musical and dance performances from some of the students.
Dr. Caroline Maher-Boulis, associate professor of mathematics at Lee, read “A Christmas Story,” the student Diversity Worship Team sang Christmas songs, and some of the international students performed a cultural dance.
Renee Lastra, secretary to the Dean of Students, along with Cleveland City Police Officer Evie West, distributed Christmas gifts to all of the students. City Councilman, and Lee professor, Bill Estes concluded the evening with prayer.
“It’s just really nice to be remembered,” said sophomore Gbemi Ojo from Nigeria.
Sponsors for this year’s event include Big Lots, McKee Foods, England Food Services-KFC, and Dr. Steve Hartline’s Office, along with participating Lee staff and faculty.