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Springfield College Records: International Center Records (RG105)

International Students Around Globe

International Center

Internationalism has been an important characteristic of Springfield College since the very beginning of the school in 1885. As the 20th century progressed, international education, administration, and foreign student advisors were badly needed at the college due to increasing foreign student enrollment and expanding overseas programs. As such, largely through the efforts of Dr. Attallah A. Kidess, the functions and roles of the International Center were approved by the Board of Trustees, and the center was officially established in 1965.

Before the International Center was established, there were many international programs conducted at the college, and connections with other countries were extensive. This was due to the strong tie that existed between Springfield College and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). Founded in 1885 as the School for Christian Workers, one of the main purposes of Springfield College was to train YMCA professionals. This included secretaries (administrators/CEO’s) and physical directors (professionals who ran the gymnasiums and gymnasium programs). Moreover, Springfield College’s academic programs, such as physical education and sport training related programs, attracted many international students involved in YMCA and other institutions. Over the years, the college educated international YMCA leaders from all over the world and sent many of its graduates to work overseas. This international influence was reflected in the changing names of the College, known at various times as the International YMCA Training School and the International YMCA College.

During these early years, several faculty members, including professor Frank M. Mohler, Dr. Theodore A. Wiel, and Dr. Attallah A. Kidess, worked with and played an important role in guiding international students and programs. Professor Mohler was the Director of the Department of International Service at the College. In 1928 he was appointed to direct the Cosmopolitan Club. Established in 1921, the Cosmopolitan Club acted as a home away from home for international students and facilitated a supportive international atmosphere on campus. In addition to these duties, professor Mohler also acted as advisor to all foreign students, including the students at the newly formed YMCA School of Physical Education in Geneva. In 1947 Dr. Theodore Wiel followed Professor Mohler as the director of the Cosmopolitan Club. After the Second World War, there was a huge increase in international students, with many students coming from Europe. He was assisted during this period by long-time college supporter, Mrs. Margaret Wood. Dr. Attallah A. Kidess was originally an international student, graduating in 1935. After 12 years of service in the Jerusalem YMCA, he returned as a faculty member in 1948. Kidess was named Foreign Student Advisor in 1955, a position he held until he was appointed the first director of International Center officially in 1965.

The establishment of the International Center was achieved under Dr. Kidess’s guidance and initiative. In a letter from Dr. Kiddess to Dean Cummins E. Speakman on October 7, 1963, he underscored the need to have two rooms, one for him and one for the secretary. In 1965, with a gift of $ 15,000 from Olive Doggett, President Laurence Locke Doggett’s wife, he dedicated the new International Center in a ceremony in Carlisle Foyer of Alumni Hall. The center had a suite of three newly decorated rooms located in the southeast corner on the first floor of Alumni Hall, the main room of which was named "The Laurence Locke Doggett Room". In November 18, 1972, the center was officially named the Lawrence Doggett International Center and moved to the second floor of the Marsh Memorial Building.

Dr. Kidess was the Director of the International center until 1980 when he was replaced by Dr. Frank Fu, who had been the International Student Advisor since 1978. One of his contributions was to build connections with East Asia and South America. During his time, the first official cooperation agreement with a Chinese institute, the Beijing Sport University, was signed. This agreement was signed in 1981. Also, under the leadership of the Hong Kong Chinese YMCA and Dr. Fu, the International Academy was established in 1982. The International Academy was designed to help international students get an education in the United States, by providing cultural, language, and academic programs mainly to students from East Asia.

Dr. Kenneth Wall became the director of the International Center in 1983. Dr. Wall continued to extend international outreach and many study abroad programs were set up for Springfield students and international students, visiting scholars, and coaches coming to the college. Dr. Wall also continued to promote the college’s international influence in Asia, South America, and Europe. From the summer of 1999 to the spring 2003, Dr. Richard Yam was the Acting Director of the International Center, while Dr. Ken Wall was away for International activities. Also during this period, the International Center moved multiple times, including to the Conference & Special Events building (# 500 Alden Street) and the Admissions Building in 1989 and the bottom floor of the Admissions Building in 1992. In 2004, Professor Deborah Alm became the Interim Director until she was appointed the Director in 2005. Professor Alm came the college as an instructor of the English as Second Language Program in 1993. Under her tenure, the International Center moved to the new Richard B. Flynn Student Union and, to increase recruiting efforts in China, opened two recruitment offices, on in Beijing (October 24th, 2016) and the other in Shanghai (January 14th, 2017).

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The international collection contains information created and gathered by the International Center of Springfield College. This includes information from and by individuals, institutions, and governments from all regions of the world, including Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, the Pacific Islands, and South and North America. Most of the information begins with the establishment of the International Center in 1965, with the bulk of the material from the late 1970s through the early 2000s during the time that Dr. Frank Fu and Dr. Kenneth Wall were the Director of the International Center. There is also material in the collection from before the founding of the International Center, mostly reports, alumni lists, and publications. Types of materials within the collection include manuscripts, reports, budgets, meeting minutes, newsletters, pamphlets and brochures, advertisements, photographic prints and slides, immigration materials, memos, speeches, invitations, audio tapes, newspaper and magazine articles, manuals, postcards, and correspondence.

There are materials that outline the history of the International Center and the College’s connections around the world. This includes materials of when and how the international center was established, mostly from the dedications of the Laurence Locke Doggett Room in 1965 and the newly established offices of the International Center in 1972. Also of import are early reports written before and after the founding of the International Center that talk about the International make-up and purpose of the College.

Information on the Study Abroad and English as a Second Language programs at the college includes reports, guidelines, handbooks, pamphlets, and correspondence. A highlight of these series includes the first Springfield College Seminar Abroad conducted by Professor Gene Rich in 1965-1966. Other materials include information on Springfield College’s International Academy, which ran from the early 1980s through the 1990s. Other programs represented include the International English Institute and the College Language American Studies Program (CLASP).

There is also information in the collection about specific institutions or agencies who worked with Springfield College to develop programs, specifically in the areas of Physical Education, Sport, Coaching, and the YMCA. Some of these programs include the Aruba Program created with the Aruba Sports Union (1976-1995); a Hong Kong (1986-1992) program based around PE 250 Program (Scientific Principles and Problems of Coaching); the Japan YMCA College Summer Program (1986-1992), including work with the YMCAs in Osaka, Kobe and Tokyo; a program created by the Henry H. Hsu Foundation involving exchange of scholars from Springfield College and Taiwan; and an international exchange of coaches with countries in South America, including Venezuela, Chile, and Curacao (1974-1986). Of note are documents between the Beijing Sport University and Springfield College. Most of this involve communication and trips of faculty and staff at the two institutions, including Beijing Sport University President Ma Qiwei, Charlie Smith, Dr. Frank Fu, and Springfield College President Wilbert E. Locklin. Another area of interest is information on how Timothy Fok, the Fok family, and Springfield College set up collaborative programs between Springfield College, Sun Yat-Sen University and Lingnan College.

Much of the collection is made up of information on many of Springfield College’s connections with institutions in Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Thailand). This is mostly materials on individual alumni/alumnae involved in programs that enabled them to come to Springfield College. Some of the programs and institutions represented include the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong, Osaka YMCA, Tokyo YMCA, the YMCA of the Philippines, the Hong Kong Master Program developed with the Hong Kong Sports Institute (1990-1993), China All-Sport Foundation, the Saudi Arabia Olympic Project (1975-1977), and the Ministry of Education of Taiwan program to train Taiwan basketball coaches (1980). Of note are materials on the YMCA College of Physical Education in India, a visit of Jiang Nanxiang, the Minister of Education of China, to Springfield College in 1980, and correspondence from Mou Zouyun, the head coach of National Basketball Team of China, in 1978.

Other important materials within the collection include correspondence with alumni in Estonia, coaches in Belgium, education departments in Greece, administrators in Denmark, officials at the Annali Dell’Istituto Superiore di Educazione Fisica & the Instuti Filippin in Italy, the Olympic committee of Spain, the YMCA in Norway, a sport association in Poland, individuals in countries from Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, Cameroon, and South Africa and information about starting or promoting programs in Costa Rica, Mexica, Panama, Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Honduras, Uruguay, Peru, and the West Indies. One interesting folder concerns correspondence with Hawaiian students who were still identified as international students in 1955. There is also correspondence and other information concerning the Mexico President Scholars Program, the Panama Exchange program facilitated by the YMCA at Panama and the University of Panama in the 1980s, and a PALMS Teachers Preparation Project, done in conjunction with the Springfield City Schools, about the Amazon, titled “Local to Global; Ecology through Technology.”