November 21, 2017 at 9:56 am

Chemistry Faculty Help Celebrate 25th Anniversary with Leipzig University

Group photo of the Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the partnership with Leipzig University speakers and attendees. Participants celebrate 25th anniversary of the OHIO-Leipzig strategic partnership.

Group photo of the Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the partnership with Leipzig University speakers and attendees.

Excerpted from Compass

Chemistry faculty were among the members of the Ohio University community welcoming Leipzig University President Prof. Dr. med. Beate A. Schücking, along with several representatives of the German institution, to the Athens Campus for a series of events during International Education Week Nov. 13-17 designed to reflect on the universities’ past collaborations and to explore potential future partnerships.

The anniversary was a key part of the evening on Nov. 15 at the Fifth Annual Global Engagement Awards Gala, during which President Schücking and the entire Leipzig University delegation were presented a special award in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the OHIO-Leipzig strategic partnership. While that partnership was formalized in 1992, Ohio University’s relationship with Leipzig University dates back to the 1880s when two future OHIO faculty members, John Pancoast Gordy – the namesake of OHIO’s Gordy Hall – and James E. Le Rossignol, earned their doctorates at Leipzig.

Over the course of the past 25 years, collaborations between the two institutions have grown to include the Departments of History and Chemistry, the Scripps College of Communication, the College of Business, the College of Fine Arts and OHIO’s Global Leadership Center. Those collaborations have paved the way for countless student and faculty exchanges as well as joint research projects and, as President Schücking noted during the Global Engagement Awards Gala, have resulted in “a special story of friendship.”

The celebration of that partnership and friendship continued Nov. 16 with the start of a two-day OHIO-Leipzig Symposium. Featuring German experts from the United States, as well as experts from Leipzig University and Ohio University, the symposium focused on past, present and future collaborations between the two institutions….


“(International Education Week) couldn’t come at a more important time relative to global events that are occurring and how important it is to look at our global community and the way in which we interact with each other in a constructive and positive way and learn to work together collectively to deal with some of our world’s greatest issues,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said, commenting that his own international experiences made him “a better person and a better scholar.”

He noted OHIO’s partnerships with many universities, adding, however, that few are as special as the historic relationship the University has had with Leipzig.

“There’s just so much to be proud of today as we celebrate this relationship,” President Nellis said, adding that the specialness of Ohio University is made “even more extraordinary because of our international partners.”

President Nellis also took a moment to thank those in the room for their commitment to international programs and global education partnerships.

“This is a key strategic priority of our institution as we continue to develop as one of our nation’s very prominent public research universities,” he said….

Dr. Ralf Hoffmann, a professor in Leipzig University’s Department of Chemistry, spoke about his first visit to OHIO in 2002 and how he worked with Dr. Jennifer Hines, Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, and others to form an agreement between the institutions’ chemistry departments. It was that agreement, he said, that initiated student exchanges that continue today.

“Leipzig is very inspirational as a place to do research,” Hines said. “At the graduate level, to be able to go and do research in another country is very significant. The students come back really transformed.”

Hines also spoke of her own exchange experience, going on sabbatical with her family to Leipzig where, she said, the members of the Leipzig University community became like “extended family.” Bob Stewart, director of OHIO’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, noted that the OHIO-Leipzig relationship has resulted in at least three marriages among students who have participated in the exchanges.

Dr. Eric Masson, Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, who also traveled to Leipzig, talked about the pleasure he’s had to work with students from Leipzig who have come to Ohio University. He also spoke about one of his students who spent a semester studying in Leipzig and liked it so much he stayed an extra week. Masson described that student as very quiet, shy and serious.

“I went to Leipzig, and I saw a completely different student,” Masson said, laughing. “He was extremely happy. … He was shining with joy. … That really broadened his horizon not only in terms of chemistry, … but also in terms of exposure to different cultures and a different environment.”

Read more in Compass.

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