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Minnesota State Mankato is one of top Fulbright Scholar producers

Full of Fulbrights

Minnesota State Mankato: One of nation's top Fulbright producers.

By Robb Murray, Free Press Staff Writer [published in The Free Press, Mankato, MN, 11/26/2010]

You could call it excellence in the area of excellence.

Minnesota State Mankato has been named one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright Scholars among master’s-degree institutions by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars.

Over the last 30 years, Minnesota State Mankato faculty and staff members have received 37 Fulbright awards. In addition, a number of students have earned Fulbright scholarships in the last 10 years.

The Fulbright Scholarship, America’s flagship international exchange program, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The most recent recipients are political science faculty member Joe Kunkel, who will teach in Germany in 2011, and Tom Gjersvig, international student and scholar services director, who visited Korean universities last summer.

“It is definitely an honor and it does confer prestige on the university, especially if you look at some of the other universities that were top producers,” said Anne Blackhurst, Minnesota State Mankato's acting vice president for academic affairs.

Other institutions include Georgetown University, Purdue University, Penn State University, Boston University and Michigan State University.

Blackhurst said that one of the most important things about the Fulbright distinction is that it is an indicator that the university is being successful in achieving its strategic priorities.

One of President Richard Davenport’s goals, she said, is to have the university engaged in finding solutions to global problems.

“We want to make sure we’re focused on not just local and regional communities, but also global communities,” she said.

Caryn Lindsay, of the university's Elizabeth and Wynn Kearney International Center, used to work in the U.S. State Department. She said the Fulbright program is one of the most prominent and recognized international exchange programs in the world, and has a very good reputation as one of the best means by which younger scholars can have access to, and get experience in, other education systems.

“Having so many faculty selected as Fulbright scholars demonstrates the depth of our faculty,” Lindsay said.

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