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President Davenport to Lead Trip to China

Trip involves establishing partnerships, recruiting students.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 11-29-2012

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato President Richard Davenport will lead a delegation of Minnesota State Mankato administrators and faculty members that will travel to China in early December to visit Chinese universities and public schools for the purposes of establishing partnerships and recruiting students.

Also traveling with the delegation is Mankato Mayor Eric Anderson, who will formalize “sister city” relationships with two cities in China.

Joining Davenport and Anderson on the trip from Minnesota State Mankato will be Linda Baer, interim vice president for Academic and Student Affairs; Doug Mayo, vice president of University Advancement; Ginger Zierdt, director of the Center for School-University Partnerships and chair of the Department of Elementary & Early Childhood Education; and Juan (Gloria) Meng, associate professor of marketing. Also traveling to China will be Mary Davenport, Interim Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Riverland Community College and wife of President Davenport.

The trip will include visits to the cities of Tongxiang in Zhejing Province and Yongcheng in Henan Province. Anderson will sign memorandums of understanding with each city that establishes them as “sister cities” to Mankato. The delegation will also visit a primary school in Yongcheng City.

Additionally, the delegation will meet with Mr. Yang Chang, a professor from the China Eastern Study Institute, in Tianjin, and discuss a proposed partnership related to Chang’s extensive collection of Oriental artifacts.

Richard and Mary Davenport have also been invited to speak at the Eleventh Overseas Investment Strategy Forum sponsored by the Western Returned Scholars Association at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Richard Davenport will deliver a keynote address and Mary Davenport will participate in a roundtable discussion. Both Davenports will talk about the importance of globalization and new trends in education.

Founded in 1913, the Western Returned Scholars Association is a Chinese government-affiliated entity consisting of more than 40,000 Chinese scholars and researchers who have studied abroad. Its website is at

While in Beijing, the delegation will also meet with a recruitment consultant who is working on behalf of Minnesota State Mankato in recruitment efforts to grow the number of Chinese students attending the university.

Minnesota State University, Mankato’s international student population of 770 in the fall of 2011 ranked 38th nationally among master’s institutions, according to an annual economic impact analysis recently released by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Minnesota State Mankato’s five-year goals include continuing to increase international student enrollment to 1,000 students by 2017.

Davenport and the delegation from Minnesota State Mankato were invited to visit China by
Changdong Xu, chair of the Western Returned Scholars Association Entrepreneur Alliance. The delegation will depart on Sunday, Dec. 2, and most of the group will return Monday, Dec. 10. Mayo and Anderson will return on Friday, Dec. 7.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,413 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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