Returning students and campus visitors alike can’t help but notice the buildings popping up around campus. Four large-scale construction projects are currently underway, including additions to the business school and the Deanery, and the much-anticipated stadium expansion. The fourth, an entirely new building, is the Carole Weinstein International Center.

Two years ago, on the heels of being named the nation’s hottest school for international studies by Newsweek magazine, the University of Richmond announced the construction of a new building dedicated to international education.

The international center, scheduled for completion by the fall 2010 semester, will mirror the role of international education on campus by facilitating cross-cultural collaboration across all academic and cultural arenas.

Reflecting on international education’s integral role at the University, President Ayers commented, “One of the beauties of international study is that it benefits every school and every student in every field of study; it’s hard to think of anything else for which you can make that claim.”

Designed to be a vibrant center for all things international, the building will support the work of the Office of International Education by encouraging interaction between international students and scholars. To that end, it will include a café, meeting spaces and programming venues.

The Office of International Education is responsible for bringing international scholars and students to campus, facilitating the University’s 75 study abroad programs, providing support for international grants and scholarships, and assisting students interested in interning or conducting research abroad.

Though study abroad is a major part of the undergraduate experience, with over 300 students studying abroad each year, it is Richmond’s on-campus internationalization that has garnered national attention. About 200 international students, representing over 70 countries, study at the University. Three fourths of those students are degree-seeking undergraduates, while the remaining fourth include exchange students and graduate students.

The internationalization of the curriculum is another major factor. Initiatives in each of the University’s five schools challenge students to develop skills they will need in the global marketplace. The new center will centralize such skill development in state-of-the-art facilities like the Spatial Analysis Laboratory and the Global Studio by supporting multi-media instruction and language learning.

Through sophisticated technology, the center’s seven classrooms will allow Richmond classes to collaborate in real time with students and professors around the world. Faculty from the Department of Modern Literatures and Cultures, as well as Latin American and Iberian studies, will teach in these classrooms.

The University's programs in English as a Second Language and Languages Across the Curriculum will join their internationally focused partners in the center.

The center will strengthen the University’s ties with the world while, according to President Ayers, helping to make the Richmond area “a destination for scholars, speakers, scientists and leaders of all sorts.”

The idea to build the international center came from the Weinstein Family, longtime supporters of the University whose impact is already visible on campus in buildings like Weinstein Hall, the social sciences building; and the Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness.

Carole Weinstein is particularly interested in supporting international opportunities for Richmond students, faculty and staff. Weinstein family scholarships and grants support University community members travelling abroad for research or study, as well as international students coming to Richmond.

With the opening of the new international center, the campus community will have a central location to meet the needs of the continued internationalization of the University.