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University of Richmond will dedicate its new Carole Weinstein International Center, the 57,000-square-foot, $20.45 million home of the university’s international education program, Oct. 14.

Designed by Glavé & Holmes Architecture in keeping with the campus’s other Collegiate Gothic buildings, the center will serve as a metaphor for global education. A central courtyard reflects the intersection of countries and cultures from around the world and the cross-disciplinary role of international education in the university’s five schools. A globe fountain and surrounding mandala made of tiles from 48 countries is the central feature.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3:15 p.m. will celebrate the $10.5 million gift from the International Center’s namesake and feature brief remarks by Mrs. Weinstein, university President Edward L. Ayers, Rector Charles A. Ledsinger Jr., Dean and Carole M. Weinstein Chair of International Education Uliana Gabara, student Gabrielle Misiewicz and history professor Hugh A. West. Guided tours and an open house will follow. The festivities are open to the public.

At 5 p.m., Pulitzer Prize-winning author and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman will address an audience of invited guests, faculty, staff and students at Alice Jepson Theatre in the university’s Modlin Center for the Arts.

“The opening of the center is a milestone in the life of this university,” said Richmond President Edward L. Ayers. “Thanks to the generosity of Carole Weinstein — the guiding conscience behind the growth of our international programs — the university has a superb facility befitting the integral role international education plays in preparing our students for global citizenship.”

Mrs. Weinstein has helped propel much of the growth of the university’s international education program over the last 20 years. A prominent local philanthropist, she holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English, as well as an honorary degree, from Richmond. She has funded scholarships for Richmond students to study abroad and supported a variety of international education and research programs at the university, as well as international students. In 2003, she created the Carole M. Weinstein Chair of International Education.

The International Center’s design embodies Mrs. Weinstein’s belief that international perspective is vital to international cooperation and prosperity.

“It symbolizes openness to the study of other cultures, other values, other legal systems, and other business and leadership models. It is a beacon to those who travel here from the far corners of the world to study with us and be part of our campus family,” she said. She adds, “Equally important, the center is a launching place from which we send out our own students and faculty around the globe to share themselves with their host families and academic institutions, and to return home with an expanded frame of reference.”

The center includes an array of technology to facilitate collaborative teaching and research between Richmond and its 65 partner universities in other countries. Live satellite links will permit faculty and students in Richmond to participate virtually in lectures and courses at universities outside the United States, as well as engage in real-time discussions with their counterparts almost anywhere.

In addition to housing the Office of International Education, the building hosts the departments of Geography and the Environment, Latin American and Iberian Studies, and Modern Literatures and Cultures, as well as interdisciplinary programs that address global issues. It also features seven high-tech classrooms, performance and meeting spaces, and the international cuisine of the Passport Café.

Some 60 percent of the university’s students participate in study-abroad programs before they graduate. Richmond has direct exchanges with more than 60 universities around the world. Nearly 300 international students are enrolled at the university, constituting 9 percent of undergraduates.

In 2007, Newsweek named Richmond the nation’s “hottest school” for international studies.

The center was designed using the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, an internationally recognized green building certification program. Regionally manufactured materials and responsible forest-use products were used in construction. “Thermal storage” air conditioning and occupancy-controlled lighting will reduce energy consumption by more than 20 percent. Landscaping throughout the site includes native or adaptive plants that require little or no irrigation.

 

Information about the dedication ceremony and Friedman:

The dedication of the Carole Weinstein International Center will be held Thursday, Oct. 14 at 3:15 p.m. on Millhiser Green, just outside the new building. The dedication festivities are open to the public.

Friedman’s keynote address takes place at 5 p.m. at Alice Jepson Theatre, located in the Modlin Center for the Arts. General admission is by reserved free ticket, but news media coverage is welcome — an RSVP from news media interested in attending would be helpful, but not required. An authority on international relations, economics, global warming and other topics, Friedman’s books include “The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st century” (2005), “From Beirut to Jerusalem” (1989) and “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” (2000), which won the Overseas Press Club Award for best nonfiction book on foreign policy. Friedman also received the Overseas Press Club’s award for lifetime achievement and the honorary title Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Queen Elizabeth II.