Thursday, November 05, 2009

Community College Community: Welcome to Midland .....

I'm really not able to make an impartial observation, here … yet I think, nonetheless, that Midland College made a good contribution towards efforts to present our community – and our nation – to visitors from overseas.

As part of a week-long visit to the United States, a delegation from the City of Dongying, People's Republic of China, visited their sister city of Midland, Texas. That visit included a tour of the Midland College main campus, where they were greeted by MC President Dr. Steve Thomas, college faculty, staff and students. I work at MC, and was able to capture some images from the tour.
The visitors included Guo Feng Pu, vice chairman Standing Committee of Dongying Municipal People’s Congress (similar to a vice mayor); Wang Jian Wei, deputy director of finance and economic affairs in the Dongying Municipal People’s Congress; Wang Yueshun, a consultant to the Dongying Economic and Trade Commission; Mu Quingjun, deputy director of foreign affairs and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office; and Deng Xuewen, interpreter with the foreign affairs and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office.
Dr. Stan Jacobs, MC's Vice President for Instruction-Transfer, conducted the tour. Dr. Jacobs reports the visitors were very impressed with the Health Science/Simulation Center program and the teleconference demonstration (with help from the Williams Regional Technical Training Center, MC's branch campus in Fort Stockton), which gave them many ideas for educational delivery systems back home in China. And that can be significant … West Texas may be known for large, remote, sparsely-populated stretches … but China has areas even larger, even more remote.

The visitors also enjoyed the Midland Art Association’s Fall 2009 Juried Art Show at MC’s McCormick Gallery, especially the large paintings of the horses in black-and-white, by Angelo State University professor Ben Sum (shown in the photo at right), which were among the show's prize-winners. I can’t help but think that his images, as well as those of Midland artist Ricky Chou (also on display at the McCormick), struck a familiar chord with our guests from Asia.

Also striking a familiar chord would have been the interpretation services provided by a pair of international students, living and studying here, in West Texas - Yafei Tang from Midland College, and Jeri Chen from UT-Permian Basin.

An unexpected bonus for the visitors was an up-close look at the American voting process in the Marie Hall Academic Building, which served as a polling location for three Midland County voting precincts in the Texas general election taking place that day.

All in all, a very good visit, and I think the Midland community - as a whole - did an outstanding job in welcoming the visitors from our sister city.

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