home Fall 2018 College celebrates proud history of international education

College celebrates proud history of international education

SUNY New Paltz joined hundreds of college campuses in the United States and around the world in reflecting on the benefits of global higher education during International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Departments of State and Education.

The celebration at New Paltz carried a special significance this year, as the College observed a number of significant benchmarks in its legacy of international programs:

  • 50 years of study abroad programs helping New Paltz students expand their horizons at peer institutions all over the world;
  • 40 years since the founding of the Haggerty English Language Program, where nonnative speakers of English can improve their language skills for academic, professional and personal growth;
  • 20 years since the establishment of the Center for International Programs, which has grown to become a nexus of cultural exchange and educational opportunity for international and domestic students alike.

“New Paltz has had a long and proud history of international engagement,” said Bruce Sillner, dean of the Center for International Programs, at an International Education Week celebration held on Nov. 14. “I would venture to say it is part of our institutional identity – it’s in our DNA.”

The first international students came to this institution more than 100 years ago, when the then-New Paltz Normal School welcomed 60 women from Cuba into an education program.

Over the years, the College’s efforts to internationalize have grown to include the Institute for International Business, the SUNY-YÖK Dual Diploma program for Turkish students, the SUNY Global Engagement Program in New York City and the SUNY Institute for European Union Studies, among many others.

“Programs like these prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange meaningful experiences,” said President Donald P. Christian. “The Center for International Programs conducts this work daily and effectively, inspiring domestic students to seize global opportunities abroad and creating a supportive, welcoming culture for the hundreds of international students who join our campus community each year.”

New Paltz is also a leader in creating study abroad opportunities for students, with a particular focus on students underrepresented in study abroad. The college has been repeatedly recognized by the Institute for International Education and the Department of State for procuring an exceptionally high number of scholarships supporting study abroad.

Since 2009, 109 SUNY New Paltz students have received almost $400,000 in highly-competitive, federally funded Gilman Scholarships, which leads all other public colleges and universities in New York State.


International scholarship recipient Perla Maldonado-Reyes ’19 (Sociology) and President Christian

“Like many of my colleagues in International Programs, I believe firmly that the contact we can facilitate between people of different cultures will lead to a more peaceful and safer world,” Dean Sillner said.

International Education Week at SUNY New Paltz celebrated these and other achievements, with a diverse mix of events for students, faculty, staff and the broader community, including a Nov. 13 retrospective on SUNY’s efforts to aid and restore Puerto Rico in the wake of the devastating 2017 hurricane season, and a Nov. 16 Thanksgiving Dinner for international students planning to pass the holiday in their temporary home on campus.

To learn more about internationalization in all aspects of SUNY New Paltz’s living and learning community, please visit newpaltz.edu/international.