The Office of International Education's annual International Celebration and Awards Ceremony on April 3 stressed the importance of creating a global environment and community at the University of Richmond.
It was an opportunity for the university community to come together and pledge continued commitment to making Richmond students' education truly international, said Uliana Gabara, dean of international education, in her opening remarks.
The International Center courtyard was decorated according to a Caribbean theme, complete with flower arrangements, sea shells and additional greenery.
"The planning and logistics for this event requires close collaboration with dozens of staff members from the University of Richmond Events Office, Catering, Facilities, Telecom Services, even the Registrar's Office as well as external vendors," said Katreena Clark, events and publications coordinator for the Office of International Education.
Clark thanked Matthew Fuchs, catering manager and Carla Shriner, assistant director of events, conferences and support services, for the success of the event.
The International Education awards were given to Brett Wigdortz, founder and CEO of Teach First, junior Chandana Chava, senior Evan Raborn, Ellen Walk, assistant professor of info systems and Karen Kourkoulis, manager of Passport Cafe.
Chava said she had been surprised and honored when she had heard she would be receiving the award.
The Study Abroad Photo Contest winners were announced by senior Rebecca Cooper. Chaz Barracks, Patrick Walsh, Radha Zanzal, June Qiong Zhou, Miki Doan, Doug Hicks, Tammi Reichel, Elizabeth Cohen and Tim Ross won the awards.
"Photos were featured on facebook.com/urstudyabroad," Clark said. "Visitors to the page could 'like' as many photos as they wished. Photos with the most 'likes' won. There was a 1st and 2nd place winner in each of the following categories: alumni, study abroad student, international student, faculty and staff."
First-place winners received $50 Amazon.com gift cards and second-place winners received $25 Amazon.com gift cards.
"We started this event about 20 years ago to have one moment, one event when we bring together all the people who are particularly active, involved in and dedicated to the internationalization of the university at large," Gabara said.
Initially, when there had only been a small international student group, this event was also used to bring international students together with the others who were involved in the internationalization process, she said.
The event was moved to the spring this year and Gabara said this had been the first time they had made use of the ellipse outside the International Center and that it had been a great setting.
The award winners were also decided a bit differently this year.
"We sent out to the whole campus community an announcement about all of the awards and asked people to name awardees," she said. "Then the staff of the office took all of the nominations, looked at specifics and the whole staff made the final choices."
Guests enjoyed an assortment of Caribbean foods before and after the ceremony. Quatro na Bossa provided light musical entertainment, performing several songs in French. When it was time for the awards, guests were ushered to the ellipse.
Diana Trinh, international student adviser, helped brainstorm the themes for this year's event and was responsible for pulling together the invite list. Roughly 135 people attended, she said.
"This event wouldn't have been made possible without the support and involvement of the faculty, staff, alumni and students," Trinh said. "It was about them and their commitment to international education."
Contact reporter Sheetal Babu at email@example.com