WESTMINSTER COLLEGE R
Westminster Expands at Home and Abroad Summer 2010
P R E S I D E N T ’ S
M E S S A G E
Internationalization and Student Learning Westminster is committed to helping students learn the details of their discipline in ways that help them develop broader skills and concepts. We call those broader skills and concepts, “college-wide learning goals,” and we believe that every course, every professor, and every situation can contribute to the process of making students aware of them and able to employ them.
In addition to news about alumni, faculty members, athletic teams, and other assorted developments at the college, there are a number of longer stories in this edition of the Review: s 9OU WILL FIND A STORY THAT DESCRIBES our new initiatives in Sugar House that would allow us to expand beyond our current campus while helping Sugar House increase its vitality and attractiveness. The effort is designed not only to deal with the space limitations of our core campus. It allows us to take advantage of the opportunities for student learning that exist in our community and to help Sugar House in its desire to take on the look and feel of a college town. s 4HERE ARE EXAMPLES OF THE WAY OUR combination of academic training and hands-on experience have helped Westminster graduates succeed as entrepreneurs. s 4HERE IS ALSO A TOUCHING TRIBUTE to Professor Susan Gunter who retired this year. While she deserves all the accolades she has received, I also know that her devotion to our students and their learning is typical of the work that our faculty does. Those specific articles combine with a series of pieces that discuss our international initiatives to illustrate Westminster’s ongoing efforts to shift our emphasis from teaching to learning.
Let me give you an example. Given the ubiquity of global communication and the emergence of an international economy, one of our college-wide learning goals is focused on what we call developing a global consciousness. We offer classes that explore different social systems and help students become aware of the need to adapt to specific cultural norms in order to communicate effectively. But we go well beyond that. We know students can learn a lot more if they interact with different cultures. So we promote partnerships with other universities that allow our students to study abroad and directly experience a different culture. Those who can’t go abroad can learn from interacting with a student body on campus that includes an increasing number of students from other countries and cultures. We have made, and kept, a commitment to have at least 20% of our freshman class come from other countries and from underrepresented groups in our own country. And we then promote interaction between all students through programs like Learning Communities, the Language Living Room, and a Multicultural Club. Beyond that, the courses they take, the professors they work with, the Student Development staff they interact with, and a host of other resources are there to give students support, encouragement, and a safe place to explore their own feelings about experiences and people and customs which may be new to them.
By the end of the process, all of our students should have developed a global consciousness and a respect for diverse people and perspectives. Does that pay off in some way? As I remind myself before many meetings, there isn’t much I can learn by spending time with people who agree with me; but I can learn a great deal and understand an issue more completely if I listen to and argue with people who have different views. That is what internationalization is designed to do. And when combined with an urban campus, hands-on entrepreneurship, and teachers who care, I honestly think the experience Westminster offers creates a unique environment for learning and produces graduates who can succeed in a rapidly changing world with ever-evolving expectations. Internationalization and Westminster’s Mission Some people are surprised to see a small college in Utah focus so much energy and effort internationalization. But we realize that every element of our campus environment contributes to student learning. In that sense, our commitment to internationalization and diversity is more than a response to some ethical or ideological mandate—it is an element of a good education and an essential element of a Westminster education. Let me close then, as I often do, by reiterating that at Westminster our primary purpose is to prepare students to lead lives of learning, accomplishment, and service. To that end, as they achieve our college-wide learning goals, every Westminster student graduates with the skills and abilities that are critical to success:
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Contributors Michelle Barber Lyhnakis (MPC â€™06) Michael Bassis Robin Boon Pamela Clem Jennifer Cooper Susan Cottler Joshua Fisher Annalisa Holcombe (â€™92) Joanna Pham (â€™13) Bob Seltzer +AYE 3TACKPOLE Tofi Taâ€™afua (â€™01, MBA â€™03) Dana Tumpowsky
Editors Robin Boon Pamela Clem Helen Hodgson Laura Murphy Virginia Rainey Bob Seltzer
Roger Jones, Poolhouse Design
Getting to the Finnish Line
If Not Now, When?
Pikku Arkku/Little Ark Photography Mare Fackrell (AN +IM Michael Schoenfeld Dana Tumpowsky Mason West
WESTMINSTER COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
From the Balkans to the Wasatch
10 Study Abroad:
+IM 4 !DAMSON
Jeanne Ambruster Gretchen Anderson -ARTHA &ELT "ARTON
Judith Billings -ICHAEL "ILLS
James R. Clark, Vice Chair Curt P. Crowther E. R. â€œZekeâ€? Dumke III Thomas A. Ellison "ING , &ANG
Thomas Fey Robert J. Frankenberg, Chair Robert A. Garda Clark P. Giles Susan Glasmann Andrew Harding Hank Hemingway #OLLEEN +EARNS -C#ANN
Peter D. Meldrum / 7OOD -OYLE )6
*EFFERY 2 .ELSON
William Orchow !LVIN 2ICHER
Noreen Rouillard David E. Simmons 7 #ARTER 3TINTON
R. Anthony Sweet Greg A. Winegardner
Journeys From Cuba, Jordan, and Kenya
My Dear Susan
Helping Entrepreneurs Make the Grade
Growing into an 23 Urban Campus 26
Alumni News Class Notes In Memoriam
Cover: Kimberly Cheney (â€™11) and Chantelle Bateman (â€™12) working abroad
Journeys From Cuba, Jordan, and Kenya Delvis Fernandez Levy He had no idea what to expect when he boarded the 'REYHOUND BUS IN +EY 7EST AFTER A SHORT BOAT RIDE from Cuba. He only knew that he was going far from home. It was 1956, and 16-year-old Delvis Fernandez Levy didn’t speak English. By the time he arrived in Salt Lake City, his luggage had been lost, and he was sick from eating the only food he knew how to order: pancakes. In the four years it took Delvis to complete his bachelor’s degree, the Cuban Revolution would change his home, and his Westminster experience would change his life. Delvis’ journey to Westminster began in Santa Clara, Cuba. In the 1950s, most Cuban schools were closed or severely lacking. Out of 600 students who had taken ﬁnal high school exams, Delvis was one of only 11 who passed. He knew he needed to leave to ﬁnd the kind of education he craved, so he combed through encyclopedias to ﬁnd a faraway place. Utah, with its deserts and mountains, seemed the perfect distance. His family rafﬂed off their camera to raise the $70 needed for his boat ticket and bus fare. That was just about all the money he had. At ﬁrst, the differences between his new home and the one he had left behind hit him hard. “I remember getting off at a bus stop in Wyoming and experiencing cold weather for the ﬁrst time in my life. My wardrobe consisted only of the short-sleeved shirts my mother had made for me,” he recalls. “Later, when I saw the Wasatch Mountains for the ﬁrst time, I became very sad because they were so different from the island landscape I had left behind. They reminded me how far from home I was.”
Above: Left to Right: Karen Thursby, Ruth Ann LaFrenz, Clarice Gunn, Dr. Myra Yancy, Alice Gunn, Ralph Gunn, Norrine (Gunn) Fernandez Levy, Delvis Fernandez Levy (’61), Jim Smith (’62) Henry Hecker, John Russell, Frank Zeidan, George I0eromninon. Children: Annette and Steven Simmons Left: The map’s dots illustrate our 2010 graduates’ home countries, the 2010 study-abroad countries, and the home countries of the alumni featured in the stories that follow.
The bright spot in Delvisâ€™ long journey was the kind and welcoming reception he received when he arrived at Westminster College. â€œI had nothing and knew no one,â€? he says. â€œLeonard and Pauline Fields, the Foster Hall dorm parents, stepped in and gave me warm clothes, a coat, boots, and everything I needed. Most especially, they were interested in my happiness and success. I no longer felt alone.â€?
In 1959, Frank Zeidan left his home, parents, and siblings to embark on a long journey from Jordan to Salt Lake City. His family in Jordan had dreamed of a life in the United States. While they awaited approval to immigrate, his parents selected Westminster as the college they wanted Frank to attend. He arrived alone, but as Delvis had been before him, Frank was warmly welcomed by the faculty and students at Westminster. Delvis was hand-selected to be his roommate so Frank could learn the ropes from someone who had made a similar transition. Already ďŹ‚uent in Arabic, French, and English, Frank thrived in his classes and took full advantage of every learning opportunity available to him.
In rapid succession, Delvis mastered English, made many friends, and fell in love with Westminster freshman Norrine Gunn, daughter of Westminster CFO Frank Gunn. â€œI felt no animosity because I was differentâ€”only a common desire to share and learn from each other. The learning opportunities were abundant and didnâ€™t occur just in the classroom: there were discussions in the dorms and over dinner at professorsâ€™ homes. Because of this small-community atmosphere, the best of humanity came through. The secondary differences didnâ€™t seem to matter as much as the human similarities,â€? he recounts. After graduating with a degree in math in 1961, Delvis married Norrine and raised two sons. He went on to earn his PhD in math from the University of California at Berkeley. He was a math professor for many years, and he also served as an advisor for students from underrepresented groups. â€œThroughout my teaching career, I worked to provide the same care and support for students I had received at Westminster,â€? he says. â€œIt is important and makes a difference, especially for students who are on their own or struggling in any way.â€?
After two years, Frankâ€™s family was granted permission to immigrate to San Francisco. Frank then transferred to UC Berkeley to join them and later went on to medical school. He married Glenda, raised two children, and became an emergency medical doctor. Today, he is considered a pioneer for establishing hospital emergency room services as we know them. â€œWestminster was my introduction to the United States and provided a very safe and comfortable environment to grow and thrive,â€? he says. â€œIt was a good beginning. I remember my friends and professors with great fondness in my heart.â€?
Even though Delvis created a fulďŹ lling life in the United States, he still longed for Cuba. In 1979, he returned for the ďŹ rst time in over 20 years and reunited with his 27-year-old sister, who was only four years old when he left. Food was scarce, and life was hard for his Cuban family. â€œI was like many immigrants who have images of home frozen in time in their minds. But the Cuba I knew was no longer there,â€? he sadly recalls. And relations between Cuba and the United States made the divide even starker in ways very personal to Delvis.
Joe Matolo Another alumnus who journeyed far from home to achieve an education is Joe Matolo, who was born AND RAISED IN +ENYA $URing his time at Westminster in the 1970s, he struggled not only with English, but with deciding among all of the educational opportunities available to him. Never before had he been able to pick the course of study on which he wished to embark. He also worked every evening at Holy Cross Hospital to help defray the cost of his education.
In 1993, his sister suffered a heart attack. In the two weeks it took him to obtain the necessary permission to visit her in Cuba, she passed away. It was then he decided to lobby for improved relations between his two homes. â€œI am appreciative of the opportunities I have had in the United States and for the many people along the way who have given their best to me,â€? he says. â€œIn turn, I want to give my best to promote understanding and opportunities for peace between my two homes.â€?
â€œBecause of the language barrier, I had to work twice as hard as the average student, but it was a very nurturing environment,â€? Joe recalls. â€œThe classes were small and I got one-on-one help if I needed it, which I did quite often. Dr. Bob Warnock in particular was patient and helpfulâ€”I stopped by his ofďŹ ce frequently.â€? 4
AROUND THE WORLD
Joe graduated in 1972 with a degree in biology and went on to the University of Southern California to pursue advanced degrees, also in biology. He recently retired after working nearly 35 years for the University of California at Davis hospital system. He remains in contact with the friends he made while at Westminster.
Westminster students are venturing out into the world: s 4HE #HAMBER 3INGERS HAVE TOURED FOUR COUNTRIES since 2005: Spain, France, China, and Ireland.
Joe shares the sentiments of his predecessors. â€œI had friends and supportive professors at Westminster who made me feel welcome and at home. While I was different in some ways from other students, I was alike in my desire to learn and achieve my degree.â€?
s STUDENTS VISITED SIX COUNTRIES AS PART OF -AY Term Experience Trips in 2010 (Ireland, United +INGDOM 3PAIN )NDIA 4HAILAND AND 0ERU s STUDENTS EXPERIENCED .ATIVE !MERICAN CULTURE with trips to Hopi and Navajo reservations during May Term 2010.
International Outreach Continues
s STUDENTS PARTICIPATED IN STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS during the 2009â€“2010 academic year, studying in 23 different countries.
Westminsterâ€™s proud tradition of educating students from all over the world continues today. In fact, it is stronger than ever, with 31 countries represented by Westminster students. â€œOne of Westminsterâ€™s college-wide learning goals is for all students to be globally conscious, socially responsible, and ethically aware. Closely related to this is our core value that all members of the Westminster community have respect for diverse people and perspectives,â€? says Cid Seidelman, provost and vice president for academic affairs. â€œTo achieve these goals, it is critical that we learn from and with people of different cultures, backgrounds, and viewpoints,â€?
The college is partnering with students and institutions around the world: s 7ESTMINSTER HAS CURRENT PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS with three international universities: Donghua University and Nankai University in China; Universidad Piura in Lima, Peru, and the Payap University McCormick School of Nursing in Thailand. s #HINESE STUDENTS ARE ENROLLED IN 7ESTMINSTERgS Global MBA at the Glorious School of Business and Management at Donghua University. s SCHOOLS IN 7AI )NDIA WILL HAVE ACCESS TO BOOKS thanks to the Wai and Westminster Library and Literacy Project.
Westminster devotes resources not only to attract students from other countries, but to assist with their needs once they are here. â€œWestminsterâ€™s small class sizes and personal attention from faculty make it difďŹ cult for any student to get lost in the shufďŹ‚e. When English is not a studentâ€™s ďŹ rst language, and the student is new to the United States, his or her needs might be a little different from those of a US-born student. We work to identify and address speciďŹ c needs of our international students on as much of an individual basis as possible,â€? says Associate Provost for Diversity and Global Learning, Bridget Newell. â€œThe Diversity and International Center recognizes the strengths, interests, and needs of our international students and strives to help them transition to Westminster and the US, and to ensure that their college experience is positive and meaningful. We want all students to be comfortable and happy and to beneďŹ t from Westminsterâ€™s unique environment for learning.â€?
s ADDITIONAL PARTNERSHIPS ARE IN DEVELOPMENT with Bond University and Flinders University in Australia and with the International Management Institute in Delhi, India.
The world is also coming to Westminster: s COUNTRIES ARE REPRESENTED BY 7ESTMINSTER students. s 4HE NUMBER OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS WHO APPLIED for admission for fall 2010 vs. fall 2009 has increased 88%, which leads us to believe that we will have more than the 80 international students who were enrolled last year. s UNDERGRADUATE #HINESE EXCHANGE STUDENTS FROM Nankai University have attended Westminster since 2007, and 19 MBA exchange students have attended Westminster from Donghua since 2008.
by Jennifer Cooper
This summer President Bassis and Provost Cid Seidelman traveled to Argentina and Peru to follow up on and formalize relationships that had been DEVELOPED BY !RIC +RAUSE $EAN OF THE $IVISION of New Learning, and David Stokes, Director of International Program Development. During their trip they signed preliminary agreements with three institutions: Universidad Argentina de la Empresa and Universidad CatĂłlica Argentina, both in Buenos Aires, and Universidad de Piura in Lima. As these agreements develop, they will promote student exchanges and, in general, expand learning opportunities for all of our students.
From the Balkans to the Wasatch
The Keusseff Family in 1916. Front row: Helen, Theodore Manoff Keusseff, Demitrius, Mary Lamont Keusseff, Stephen, Wilson. Second row: Ruth, Theodore, and John. Photo courtesy of Wilson Keuseff.
as a Presbyterian pastor in Panguitch for 11 years, then as a Sabbath School Missionary. He retired in 1937. The +EUSSEFFS HAD SEVEN CHILDRENÂˆlVE OF WHOM GRADUATED from Westminster.
When Westminster College was known as Sheldon Jackson Collegeâ€”from 1897 to 1902â€”only one student graduated. That sole graduate was not a Utah-born student, as one might expect, but rather one from 'RADETZ "ULGARIA 4HEODORE -ANOFF +EUSSEFF "ORN IN 1866, when Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Empire, +EUSSEFF HAD JOINED THE ARMY AS A YOUNG MAN TO lGHT THE Ottoman Turks.
"ULGARIA HAS CHANGED SUBSTANTIALLY SINCE +EUSSEFF immigrated. It had emerged as a kingdom in 1878 when it liberated itself from the Ottoman Empire, was enveloped in the Iron Curtain following World War II, and ďŹ nally embarked on a democratic path when Communist regimes in Europe started falling in 1989. In 2004, Bulgaria became a member of NATO, and in 2007, a member of the European Union.
$ISENCHANTED WITH THE FUTILITY OF CIVIL STRIFE +EUSSEFF IMMIGRATED TO THE 5NITED 3TATES ARRIVING IN .EW 9ORK IN the 1890s. He worked his way across the country to San Francisco, where he was attracted to a Methodist revival and resolved to devote his life to Christian service. Heading to Chicago to attend the Moody Bible Institute, +EUSSEFF RAN OUT OF FUNDS IN 3ALT ,AKE #ITY (E WAS TAKEN in by Reverend McNiece, pastor of First Presbyterian Church and an early college trustee, who helped make it POSSIBLE FOR +EUSSEFF TO lNISH HIS EDUCATION
Since 2006, Bulgaria has again been represented on the Westminster campus, ďŹ rst by Milko Markov (â€™10) and then by Blagovest Amov (â€™11). Citing the rigid Bulgarian educational system, with its preset curriculum, professors trained during the Communist era, lack of ďŹ‚exibility, and lack of creativity, as the reasons they didnâ€™t want to pursue their studies there, both left their native Bulgaria to experience American-style academia. And both decided to study in the West. Blago had also heard from his brother, who was studying in France, about a far different style of education.
+EUSSEFF WORKED HIS WAY THROUGH 3HELDON *ACKSON College with money earned from construction jobs and lectures he gave, dressed in Bulgarian national attire, on conditions in Bulgaria. While in school, he met and married Mary Lamont, a native of Scotland, whose family had immigrated to Utah. From Salt Lake City, +EUSSEFF ATTENDED 7ESTERN 0RESBYTERIAN 4HEOLOGICAL Seminary in Pittsburgh, eventually settling back in Utah
Milko, who is from the town of Haskovo, started looking for colleges in the West. â€œI was researching colleges on 6
Now roommates, these two proud Grifﬁns speak English ﬂuently, yet stick to their native Bulgarian when relaxing at home. They love Utah, but miss the gourmet specialties of their homeland, including white cheese, banitza (a traditional cheese ﬁlo pastry), and baklava. While a trip to Bulgaria may not be very convenient, these enterprising young men have found a place closer to home where they can delight in these much-missed delicacies: a Bulgarian restaurant just six hours away in Las Vegas. That type of road trip is new to them. Milko recalls how he found big cars and trucks a shock when he ﬁrst arrived in the Unite States and how surprised he was that walking places was not the norm. Now, he has “adopted the habit of driving,” and both have enjoyed traveling through the United States during their free time. Both appreciate the education they have received at Westminster. They single out the small classes, approachable faculty, and opportunities to be mentored by experts in their ﬁelds as major reasons they like studying at the college. Blago also enjoys Westminster’s location close to Utah’s “gorgeous” mountains, where he snowboards whenever he can. “Westminster is a calm sea,” he says, “with all of the advantages a big city can offer.”
Theodore Manoff Keuseff was the sole graduate of Sheldon Jackson College in 1901. Photo courtesy of Wilson Keuseff.
!ND SO YEARS AFTER 4HEODORE -ANOFF +EUSSEFF delivered the graduation oration at Sheldon Jackson College, Milko celebrated his graduation in May. Westminster looks forward to a continued Bulgarian presence on campus, at least until Blago graduates next year.
the Internet and found Westminster. I was impressed with its business program, so I applied and was accepted.” As an international business major, Milko initially planned to study management, but later decided to focus on entrepreneurship and small companies. He now works closely with the Institute for New Enterprise in the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business. Having graduated, he plans to take a year off before pursuing his MBA (but where, he hasn’t decided yet).
Information about Theodore Keusseff was taken from an article in the 1996 issue of the Review written by Westminster historian Dr. R. Douglas Brackenridge.
by Dana Tumpowsky and Pamela Clem
Blago’s ﬁrst venture into foreign education was as an exchange student at a high school in Vermont, where this native of Soﬁa (the capital city of Bulgaria) learned to enjoy the mountains and snowboarding while living with a host family that was seriously into winter sports. “I was looking for colleges and saw an ad for Winter at Westminster [our study-abroad alternative for snow enthusiasts],” he says. “That got me interested in Utah’s mountains and the school.” As Blago investigated Westminster, he found an admissions counselor who connected him with Milko, allowing the two Bulgarian natives to email and exchange information before Blago enrolled. An international business and economics major, Blago still has a year to decide what he’ll do when he graduates. Whether he goes on to graduate school or embarks on a business career, he already has an impressive internship under his belt: he interned with the Council of Ministers in Bulgaria in May 2009, where he assessed the impact of European Union regulations before implementing them in the country. “The plan is for Blago to be the next Bulgarian Minister of Economics,” jokes Milko. Milko Markov(’10) and Blagovest Amov(’11)
Getting to the Finnish Line
Nova Lindahl, Elizabeth Peterson, Peter Lindahl, and Vera Lindahl
years without being in ﬁnancial debt to anyone. I am very grateful for that.
The following is an interview that Dana Tumpowsky, director of alumni and parent relations, held via email with alumna Dr. Elizabeth Peterson, who is working in Finland as a linguistics professor.
Tell me about your Westminster experience—favorite memories, favorite professors, etc. Coming back to Utah left me feeling a bit confused, but I felt I really found my niche at Westminster. Those were the perfect, quintessential, enlightening, “coming-ofage” years.
Tell me about what you do now. My title is yliopiston lehtori, which means university lecturer, although it doesn’t translate all that well into the US academic lexicon. The US equivalent, more or less, is associate professor. I am in the Department of Modern Languages/English at the University of Helsinki. I teach sociolinguistics, pragmatics, English linguistics— that type of thing.
I also remember feeling a bit confused during those ﬁrst couple of weeks at Westminster about how I was supposed to behave. At Delta High School I had kind of adopted this rebel-girl attitude, but I quickly discovered that wouldn’t be necessary at Westminster, because these people thought like I did, and not only that—they were a lot smarter than I was! The ﬁrst time I had this realization was in a course called “Western Civilization” (or something like that), taught by Susan Cottler and Michael Popich. I remember very clearly when Dr. Cottler was talking about the Bible as mythopoesis. Wow—mythopoesis! People in Delta didn’t talk like that! I was lucky to make some very good friends among my professors. Their openness and kindness were extraordinary. Good friends have been Elree Harris, Fred Fogo, Trudy McMurrin (the dearly departed), and David Baddley. Some of the classes that stick out in my mind were Georgiana Donavin’s Chaucer class (she was so rigorous and so smart), any class with Susan Cottler (although my favorite, of course, was the History of Rock ‘n’ Roll, which was not the giveaway class it might sound like), and Michael Popich’s philosophy course.
When you were a student, I remember you telling me that you fell in love with Finland during a high school trip you took through Rotary International. ) CANT BELIEVE YOU REMEMBER THAT 9ES ) WAS A SMALL town girl from Delta, Utah, and I was still a small-town girl after being an exchange student in a small town in Finland. But being exposed to a different culture and different people had a profound effect on me: it expanded my universe—pretty much the reason behind doing the whole exchange-student thing. I had to go back to Delta to ﬁnish my ﬁnal year of high school, and I remember that was quite difﬁcult because I had developed an independence in Finland that didn’t map very well onto the teenage life in Delta. I consider myself very fortunate to have been accepted at Westminster, and to have beneﬁtted from the generosity of family trusts and other gifts (the Bradshaw Faculty scholarship, the Trustee scholarship, and the Eccles scholarship). I ﬁnd it amazing that I was able to attend Westminster for four
I very quickly got into a community at the Forum, and that was pretty much my lair for the next four years. First, I was a staff reporter, then copy editor, and I was editor for two years. My ﬁrst year at Westminster was also Fred Fogo’s ﬁrst year there, so you can imagine how much fun that was. Honestly, the Forum at that time was like a little microcosm. We had all of these people who would just hang around in the ofﬁce because it was fun; there was always something going on. We had a blast. We were very open creatively, and we were quite sassy, but it seems like we were encouraged to have that freedom, which I appreciated. Even the president at the time, Charles Dick, made it a habit to write to us every once in a while saying how much he enjoyed our shenanigans. I don’t know if you remember, but we got loads of letters to the editor, most of them concerning the rather off-color pieces written by [the late] Trevor Mavin (’93).
Tell me about your personal life—your husband and your daughter, Vera Valentina…. I met my husband through a mutual friend while I was living in Washington DC. We tried the long-distance thing for a little under a year, but I am not the most patient person in the world, so it was kind of like, “Oh, Finland? I can do that!” So I applied for a university post here in Finland and got it (my ﬁrst post was in a university town called Joensuu). We were married in Edinburgh, Scotland, in April 2007. Our daughter, Vera Valentina, was born on Halloween in 2008. She is named after my own beloved grandmother, so luckily the name Vera works in all three languages that we use at home (Finnish, Swedish, and English). Here is something that fascinates me as a linguist: my grandmother was from a family of Danish immigrants, and so, of course, she spoke Danish. My husband, who is originally from Sweden, speaks a southern variety of Swedish (from the region called Skåne), which is very much like Danish. So, my daughter, Vera, is learning to speak a language that her great-grandmother Vera also spoke. And my grandmother and Peter’s grandmother could have spoken to each other in the same language, more or less. I just think that’s kind of cool—like a fullcircle effect.
After you graduated from Westminster, what led you back to Finland? I maintained connections to Finland over the years, mostly through the people I had lived with as an exchange student. To be honest, that was pretty much that, until I had an “aha!” moment in a class that was taught by Elree Harris and Michael Popich. I think the class was called “Introduction to Linguistics” or maybe “English Linguistics”—something like that. Anyway, I remember that Dr. Popich was showing us a family-tree diagram of the Indo-European languages. He asked us if anyone could think of a language spoken in Europe that wasn’t on the diagram. I thought for a moment, then said, “Wait a minute, Finnish is not on here. And I know something about Finnish.” I mean, of course I knew from my experience as an exchange student that Finnish was not an Indo-European language, that it was special and so on, but this was the ﬁrst time I thought of it from an academic perspective. Of course you never realize the impact of these moments at the time they occur, but I now see this moment as a turning point. My interest in linguistics, or the scientiﬁc study of language, was ﬁrmly planted, and I would go on to write a dissertation on pragmatic features of Finnish. When I was accepted into graduate school at Indiana University Bloomington, Elree Harris advised me, “Now you should try to get a Fulbright,” and that’s what I did. It was a Fulbright that led me back to Finland the ﬁrst time to gather data for my dissertation; I went back on a second grant, this time from the Finnish government.
What differences do you see with the university system and the culture of Finland vs. your own experience here and in grad school? No doubt the biggest difference is that students here don’t pay tuition. Everything is funded by the state; I am actually a civil servant here, as all universities are run by the national government through the Ministry of Education. To get into the university, students have to perform very well ﬁrst on standardized tests that are distributed by the state, and then they have to pass another test to get into a speciﬁc university department. They get some small kind of allowance from the government each month for the time they are actively enrolled students. Perhaps the biggest cultural difference is the behavior of students in Finnish classrooms. When I taught undergraduate classes at Indiana University, the students were very talkative. Here in Finland, they kind of just sit there. Well, not all of them, but many of them do. Let’s just say that I don’t have the closeness with my students that my professors at Westminster had with us.
The craziest part of the story comes next. I had gone back to the United States and was working in Washington DC, at the Center for Applied Linguistics, ﬁnishing up the ﬁnal stages of my dissertation. It was there, in DC, that I met a Finnish man and fell in love, and shortly after—lo and behold—I was back in Finland again. That was six years ago. Now I have a tenured position at the University of Helsinki, a Finnish husband, and a Finnish (and American—dual citizenship!) daughter. Who knows why, but this country seems to have a ﬁrm hold on me.
How has living in Finland changed you? I think I now have more tolerance for silence, as silence is not something that makes Finns uncomfortable, and they don’t feel a need to ﬁll up conversational space with small talk. I still consider myself quite a typically social American, but sometimes I am happy to just sit back and observe and listen. I think Finland has taught me that.
by Dana Tumpowsky
Study Abroad: If Not Now, When?
Joanna Pham (â€™13) looks into her study-abroad possibilities.
through the safari of priorities) might just move beyond my recurring, yet relevant daydreams.
Itâ€™s a rather romantic concept, this idea of packing little necessities and a book of Bukowski into a warm suitcase and just disappearing for a few weeks, maybe even a few months. Images of standing in front of a grafďŹ ti-splashed bus stop waiting for the next one, or picking an arbitrary destination when purchasing a plane ticket often swallow me. The best part is that I know I am not the only one with these fantasies of such careless expeditions. When asking fellow students what they really want to be doing at the moment, my ears perk up every time I hear the word travel. Unfortunately, in a hectic environment of abstract economies; busy professors; intense studies; unread literature; vibrating nights ďŹ lled with coffee, papers, ďŹ nals, more coffee, and maybe even a job or two, the word feels slightly distant and unresponsive. Luckily, as a Westminster student, the idea of travel (even
May Term at Westminster offers not only an array of neat classes, but many opportunities to study abroad in countries such as Thailand, India, Ireland, Peru, and Spain. Just imagine: Westminsterâ€™s unique environment for learningâ€”but in another environment. Itâ€™s quite tempting actually, this idea that, as a Westminster student, I can receive that same quality college education IN ANOTHER COUNTRY +NOWING THAT ) CANT POSSIBLY BE THE only one who fantasizes about eating food, listening to music, touching fabrics, and speaking words beyond what I already know in a place I already know, I canâ€™t help but think why not?
4HIS -AY (AN +IM ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF THE -ASTER OF Public Health program, took a small number of students on a service-learning trip to Thailand. “Now’s the time to do it,” explains Han. “This is the right time to travel.” Han also points out that ﬁnding time to travel may be difﬁcult now, but there’s a huge possibility that it will only be more difﬁcult upon graduating and possibly growing up. After hearing these words, I pictured myself behind an ofﬁce desk wearing a suit, burning my tongue while sipping steaming hot coffee. He was right. There is a slight chance that I may graduate from college and work a career or two or three and never have time to see different places. Why risk that somewhat despairing thought? Why not take the opportunity of being a gogetter college student and use the art of travel to my educational advantage? When will there be a better time to taste strange spices and fruits, hear more languages and dialects, or meet people who will possibly see me and ﬁnd me strange, new, and appealing? It’s apparent why traveling is so signiﬁcant to me, but why should any other student take the time to study abroad? According to Deyanira Ariza-Velasco, assistant professor of Spanish, there is a difference between touring and traveling. Traveling students will not only be able to have new experiences within the country they visit, but they will be able to immerse themselves in almost every aspect of that culture. It’s more than studying the language; it’s speaking the language. It’s more than seeing those sights; it’s embracing them with all the senses. It’s more than meeting new people; it’s being part of the population for that time period. These May Term trips prove to be not only a physical achievement (walking and backpacking for miles and miles), but an emotional one as well. Both Han and Deyanira have witnessed the experiences students encounter. They are able to see and appreciate things ﬁrsthand. Beyond service and volunteer work, they are able to have a change in mindset. For the most part, their perspectives change and sail away from what they already know and are comfortable with. “If the students are not uncomfortable at some point in time, I’m not doing my job,” states Han. He urges students to reach beyond their comfort zones. They become more aware that way. It’s another form of emotional growth that they are going to remember for the rest of their lives, even if that life does consist of wearing a suit and sitting behind a desk. They become knowledgeable and spread the word, which in the end could be the goal of it all: spreading the word. Han also explains that within travel is a connection between humans on many different levels, whether it be anthropologic, biologic, or spiritual. Not only do the students get to know the others they travel with a little better, they get to know the people they are helping. This is what makes the difference between traveling and being a tourist.
“Pilgrim: Santiago de Compos,” a May Term class in Galicia, Spain
to do, too many jobs to work, and, yes, traveling might be ﬁnancially ambitious at the moment, but none of those things carry the same weight of worth. What’s taking some time off of work, or pulling out some more student loans, going to do? It’s not only beneﬁcial to us as students, but as human beings just experiencing what’s actually out there. With that in mind, students can bring their new experiences back home and, again, spread the word. We’re good at that here at Westminster. So it’s set: I’m going to Brazil. Joanna Pham (’13) just ﬁnished her freshman year at Westminster majoring in English with a creative writing emphasis. Along with English she speaks Vietnamese, Laotian, and a bit of Thai, and has an ear for Cambodian. She plans to add French and Spanish to that list. Language encompasses her from every direction, and she utilizes it whenever possible, whether it is to speak poetry, create relationships, or remember dreams from the past night. Hopefully, her vivid daydreams of sailing oceans and fantasies of hot-air-balloon traveling will take her somewhere as a writer.
By the end of these interviews I became ardent, and somewhat anxious. In a romantic way, I was ready to climb mountains, wade in rice paddies, rummage rice ﬁelds, and get muddy. Sure, I have too much homework
by Joanna Pham 11
29 May 2010
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song, and I’ll try not to sing out of key.
Do you remember challenging me to teach an entire semester of American history through a medley of popular songs? I never forgot it, and I never did it. But on the special occasion of your retirement from Westminster, I am taking the dare.
Portrait of a Lady: The Adventures of Susan Gunter
It was twenty [one] years ago today Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play. They’ve been going in and out of style, but they’re guaranteed to raise a smile. So may I introduce to you, the act you’ve known for all these years…
Left: Susan Gunter
Back in the USSR: in Soﬁa, Bulgaria—an experience that fulﬁlled all her teaching and scholarly dreams. The students, who had nothing, loved to study (even as they had no books, paper, or anything else). Her colleagues were cordial, intellectual, and engaged and engaging. The hospitable Bulgarians (who have nothing) gave the Gunters all they had as they travelled around the country.
9OU DONT KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE ;ALMOST= BACK IN the USSR. When she returned, she continued to champion her students there: collecting money, books, anything that would support their desire to learn. Coming back to Westminster, There, beneath the blue
suburban skies then, would prove to be challenging. She almost screamed
Gimme shelter. Mad bull lost its way. Professor Susan Gunter, BA, MA, PhD (American literature). Susan arrived at Westminster in 1989 with her geologist husband, Bill, and two of their three sons, both of whom grew up to be giants. While feeding them whatever it was that made them so big, she started teaching here. It was not her ﬁrst teaching job, however. She taught at-risk children in Cleveland and college students at the University of South Carolina. Westminster provided different opportunities for her, and she seized upon them with passion and relish, as she does all her interests. Susan worked every day to inspire students to understand literature—and to love it as well. And they loved her for it. Her success as a professor was the natural result of her brilliance, dedication, and professional demeanor.
To wit: Her homecoming coincided with Westminster’s transition from a teaching institution to a “community of learners.” The pedagogical paradigm shift occasionally intellectually mystiﬁed Professor Gunter. She had always thought of her students as learners and her role as leading them to knowledge. They weren’t her equal— few are—but she had been helping them learn for years without the “new” learning center, strategic initiatives, online evaluations, shifting LE requirements, learning communities, diversity councils, recruitment and retention strategies, and the alphabet soup of the NSSE, IRB, LE, and TLRC.
Like a rolling stone Like a rolling stone Like the FBI
I can show you, I can show you. Rain, I don’t mind. Shine, Then, the world looks ﬁne. Can you hear me, that when it rains and shines, it’s just a state of mind?
And the CIA And the BBC
The intangibles of her triumph as a professor are mysterious—that is, she is mysterious in a compelling way. It is not just what she brings to the classroom, but more so what she leaves out—to allow students to investigate/ discover for themselves. She has steadfastly retained the intrigue historically associated with a college education.