A Gathering of Nations

The flags of thirty nations are now on display outside the Office of International Student Services, representing the students from countries around the world who are enrolled at Concordia University St. Paul.  The office is on “the tunnel” in Luther Hall, and I encourage you to take a look next time you are in that area on campus.  The flags were mounted on the walls a few weeks ago.

Just a few years ago, only a handful of international students were enrolled at Concordia.  Today that number has swelled to nearly 150.  It is indeed a high privilege for us to welcome these students to our campus.  They enrich us by their presence and we hope to help them achieve their academic goals and begin to realize their aspirations for their lives and careers.  Just today I spoke with one of our international students, who is studying finance.  “I love Concordia,” he told me.  “This is a great place to go to school.”  Naturally I was happy to hear this.  In point of fact, from our surveys of international students we learn that the vast majority say they would choose Concordia again, and their rates of persistence to graduation are high.

Tiffanie Loeb Schneider, Colleen Cahill, Drew Boatman, and Kati Jabri staff the Office of International Student Services.   I am proud of the work they do and grateful for the positive spirit they display in working with these students who, of course, bring with them widely diverse backgrounds in culture, ethnicity, language, and customs.  Many other faculty, staff and volunteers are contributing to the constructive experience our international students are having.  I hope all of us take advantage of learning from them, through conversation and attendance at some of the wonderful events they sponsor on our campus each year.

To the people of Israel, God said:  “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born.  Love them as you love yourself” (Leviticus 19:34a).  Thank you, God, for giving us the same opportunity you gave to your people of old.

Tom Ries, President

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