From her first visit to the Lehigh campus in 1983, Maria K. Chrin ‘87 held an international perspective few could match.
Chrin, CEO and Managing Partner of Circle Wealth Management in New York City, enrolled at Lehigh, sight unseen, as one of the first international students from Honduras.
“My experience at Lehigh, both educational and social, was transformational and a great foundation for my professional and personal life,” Chrin says. “And over time, I have come to realize how valuable the Lehigh experience has been, and how instrumental it has been in my professional success.”
For decades, Lehigh has played an important role in educating and shaping the lives of students from all over the globe. And in the interconnected world of the 21st century, Chrin is passionate in describing Lehigh’s ongoing commitment to a strong international strategy and footprint—a personal priority since joining the university’s Board of Trustees five years ago.
“Globalization has become a powerful force arising from high-speed communications and transportation networks that have lowered barriers to the exchange of people, goods, and ideas around the world,” Chrin says.
Chrin believes that in order to attract the best students and faculty, and provide its alumni with broad networking opportunities, Lehigh must remain committed to providing a global lens on topics like commerce, resource distribution, arts and aesthetics, intercultural relations, academic and literary discourse, and relationships among nations.
And while these challenges are important to society, Chrin says they also represent areas where Lehigh has core strengths, and where a concerted effort will allow Lehigh to have a significant impact.
“As one example, Lehigh is among the very few major universities in the United States with a separate Department of International Relations,” Chrin says. “And the program is matched by the excellence of its teaching and research. It is not an exaggeration to say that Lehigh offers an undergraduate education in International Relations that is among the very best in the country.”
The creation of the Global Affairs Sub-Committee of the Board, and, more recently, the appointment of Mohamed S. El-Aasser as Vice President for International Affairs, have been major steps in ensuring that the university’s leadership, and the Board’s Executive Committee, share and pursue a common vision for Lehigh’s global agenda.
In addition, the Global Affairs Sub-Committee was created to include both board and non-board members to ensure diversity of perspectives as it advises, oversees, and promotes the effective planning, development, and coordination of the university’s global initiatives and strategies.
Chrin, who co-chairs the sub-committee, says one important goal is to ensure that Lehigh can benefit from the insights and involvement of its international alumni—regardless of their distance from South Mountain.
“Lehigh will greatly benefit from each of us becoming an active partner in helping expand its international footprint,” Chrin says. “And to transform ambition into reality, Lehigh must generate and maintain a steady, substantial flow of people, ideas, and culture from the world to us, and from us to the world. I have no doubt that we will be successful in this effort.”
Editor’s Note: Lehigh needs your participation to ensure the expansion of its international reach! To contribute to this newsletter and to provide programmatic suggestions, contact Debra Nyby, Director for International Services, at invpia@Lehigh.EDU.
Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2010