New Facility to Be Unveiled; Photo Exhibit to Highlight Congressman’s Work with Past Seven U.S. Presidents

PHOTO: Gilman Center for International EducationMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – Less than eight months after its August groundbreaking, SUNY Orange will officially open the new Gilman Center for International Education with an 11 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, March 27, on the College’s Middletown campus.

The newly completed Center stands in tribute to Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman, a revered public servant known internationally for his compassion, advocacy for human rights and artful ability to build relationships across cultural, economic, language and religious barriers.

Dr. William Richards, SUNY Orange president, will preside over the ribbon cutting ceremony, which will feature remarks from Gilman; Joan Wolfe, chair, SUNY Orange Board of Trustees; Dr. Catherine Chew, SUNY Orange vice president for academic affairs; Ed Diana, Orange County executive; and John Bonacic, state senator. Following the College’s ceremony, the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York will hold a brief dedication ceremony in the Gilman Center foyer.

To accompany the ribbon cutting, a photo collage depicting Gilman with each of the past seven United States presidents, under the theme “Recollections in an Election Year: Ben Gilman and the American Presidency,” will be on display in the Gilman Center lecture room.

The upcoming ribbon cutting begins the latest chapter in SUNY Orange’s quest to globalize its curriculum. Last summer, SUNY Orange created a new Global Studies Department and this spring, the College is concluding its debut “Global Initiative: Latin America,” a year-long focus on the culture, art, history, politics, music and culture of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Completed for nearly a month, the Center served as the perfect backdrop for a collaborative meeting between College administrators and a 10-person delegation of Chinese educators and civic leaders who visited SUNY Orange in late February to investigate the College’s workforce training and academic programs. More recently, the Gilman Center hosted Dr. Bruce Aitken’s homeland security lecture on March 10.

The Gilman Center will help SUNY Orange prepare students to take advantage of exciting opportunities provided by changes in the local, regional and global workplace. It will serve as a teaching hub for courses in Global Studies, continue to attract important speakers to campus and showcase Gilman’s outstanding accomplishments both at home and abroad. The Center will also provide educational resources to students, scholars and community members seeking to learn more about the global environment and the international role of the United States.

“The Gilman Center will give our Global Studies program a tremendous boost, and will benefit our students greatly in the years to come. But, I’m most pleased to be able to honor Ben in a fashion worthy of such a legendary public servant and humanitarian,” says Dr. William Richards, SUNY Orange president.

Construction of a beautiful glass and aluminum entryway along the building’s south exterior gives the Library a glistening new façade facing Harriman Hall. The 900-square-foot entryway features a circular foyer and a reception desk, along with an open floor plan suitable for receptions and gatherings.

A sizeable portion of the Gilman Center was carved from the College’s current Library. Interior renovations to the Library included a large 1,800 square-foot lecture room/classroom space with the capacity to hold as many as 250 occupants, installation of the latest technological equipment to accommodate presentations, and movable furniture to allow for a variety of configurations. There is also a large open space where students can gather in small discussion groups or find a quiet spot for individual study. Associated with the Center will also be an international lecture series that will bring speakers to campus on a regular basis.

Throughout the Gilman Center’s interior, suitable spaces will be allocated to showcase research papers, artwork, memorabilia and other items from Gilman’s more than 30 years in Washington, as well as his travels abroad. International studies and global understanding were cornerstones of Gilman’s career in government, and they also create the foundation for the mission of the Gilman Center.

SUNY Orange offers an associate in arts degree in international studies. The program includes a broad range of courses with international themes in the humanities and social sciences, and it requires students take classes in foreign languages, international relations, world history and international literature. Most graduates of SUNY Orange’s international studies program transfer to four-year colleges or universities prior to gaining employment in a vast array of professions, including language interpreter, international business, international law, government or diplomatic relations, import-export business, or high school teacher.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940