NEW PALTZ — SUNY New Paltz President Roger Bowen’s steadfast support of international education led to special recognition today by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. In a regional conference, which included educators from the Northeast and Canada, the association presented its James O’Driscoll Distinguished Service Award to Bowen. The award recognizes outstanding service in the field of international education.
The conference coincides with the first day of U.S. International Education Week, as declared by Secretary of Education Richard Riley and Secretary of State Madeline Albright.
“The power of people-to-people connections plays an ever increasing role in today’s global economy,” Riley said in a Sept. 25 news release announcing International Education Week. “I strongly believe that the growth of democracy, economic prosperity and social stability throughout the world is linked to the advance of international cooperation and education.”
The O’Driscoll award recognized Bowen’s career commitment to international education, ranging from his personal studies abroad to his role in making international study a reality for financially limited undergraduate students.
Bowen never questioned the value of international study. As an undergraduate student in Indiana, he studied in Japan. As a faculty member, he led groups of American students on academic programs to Nicaragua and Vietnam. He spent a year as the faculty director of Colby College’s program at the University of Cork in Ireland.
At New Paltz, Bowen emphasized the importance of international education by including it in the university’s strategic plan and aggressively expanding international options for students, as well as the number of students participating in the international experience.
In October, Bowen’s commitment to international study extended beyond the confines of his classroom or campus. In the early spring, he assisted Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman (R-Greenville) in writing the International Education Act of 2000. In short, the bill was designed to provide scholarships to students of limited financial means for study abroad. President Clinton signed the bill into law on Oct. 17.
In accepting the award, Bowen told the 600-plus audience that the bill’s passage into law was the result of true bipartisan support and the persistence of educators across the country, including more than 50 university presidents who wrote to Congressional leaders urging passage.