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Chinese delegation at MTSU for Centennial birthday...

Chinese delegation at MTSU for Centennial birthday bash

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, center, welcomes dignitaries from four of the University'€™s partners in international education in China, including Hunan Normal University, Hangzhou Normal University, Northwest Normal University and China Agricultural University, before a busy weeks' end of meetings, discussions and Centennial Gala celebrations begin. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Among the revelers experiencing Middle Tennessee State University’s Centennial Gala this weekend are 19 delegates from four Chinese universities with which MTSU enjoys academic partnerships.

The delegation is on campus at the special invitation of President Sidney A. McPhee to celebrate MTSU’s 100th birthday. Their itinerary includes a barbecue luncheon with McPhee, as well as tonight’s Centennial Blue Tie Gala at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro.

“For most of them, it’s going to be a wonderful introduction to collegiate culture, and, in particular, MTSU football culture,” says Dr. David Schmidt, vice provost for international affairs, referring to Saturday night’s home opener between the Blue Raiders and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the usual pre-game tailgating.

The Chinese visitors also are meeting with their respective MTSU counterparts, as well as Chinese students who are attending MTSU or on campus through an exchange program, and touring facilities such as the University Honors College and the Student Health, Recreation and Wellness Center.

“We’re finding many, many more ways we can work together to make these partnerships stronger and find more opportunities for the students and faculty, both in research and in student studies,” says Dr. Guanping Zheng, director of MTSU’s Confucius Institute.

The dignitaries include representatives from Hunan Normal University, Hangzhou Normal University, Northwest Normal University and China Agricultural University. They arrived Sept. 7-8 and are scheduled to depart Sept. 11.

— Gina K. Logue (