Nyack College is known for responding to The Great Commission by sending students and alumni around the globe to serve others. Tuesday, November 13, 2007, the nations came to Nyack to be served.
Under the auspices of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, a delegation of international visitors spent a day at Nyack’s Rockland County campus. The goal of the IVLP is to increase mutual understanding between the United States and people of other nations.
Administrators and educators came from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ghana, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Jerusalem, Luxembourg, Mozambique, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Serbia, Somalia, and Turkey, accompanied by Department of State representatives.
During a three-week stay, beginning in October, the group convened in America to study the structure and administration of the U.S. system of higher education; to discuss changes in the relationship between institutions of learning and the government, business community and the non-profit sector; and to address challenges common to educators and administrators in higher education.
A morning plenary session kicked off with a welcome from President Dr. Michael Scales. Other presentations included “The History and Institutional Structure of Nyack College” by Provost Dr. David Turk; “The Role of Religious Education in Post Secondary Education in America” by Advisor to the President and Executive Director of the Institute for Collaborative Engagement, Dr. Samuel Barkat; “A Framework for the Future" by Dr. Scales, and “The Global Engagement of Nyack College by Alliance Theological Seminary professor Dr. Martin Sanders. Break-out groups addressed student services, international programs, university administration, and information technology. With the backdrop of brilliant autumn foliage and the Hudson River in the distance, a campus tour introduced the men and women to landmark buildings and even the gravesite of founder Dr. A.B. Simpson.
During each presentation, question and answer sessions were welcomed and the group engaged in a dialogue on perhaps the most unique paradigm for liberal arts education the visitors saw during their cross country travels. Nyack College was the only religious institution on their itinerary. Other New York schools included Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, City University of New York, and New York University.
After taking in the depth of Nyack’s five governing core values: academically excellent, globally engaged, intentionally diverse, personally transforming and socially relevant, a Nigerian journalist in the group suggested to Dr. Scales, that Nyack should present its vision “to the White House.”
While campus visits are a common ritual at Nyack, this November visit will long be remembered as a day when, as Dr. Barkat commented, “a family meeting…a meeting of cousins” took place. It was a literal session of united nations and...another 125th anniversary milestone for Nyack College.