Dr. Kyoo-Hyang Cho, left, president of Dong-A University in South Korea, and Lander University president Dr. Daniel Ball, exchange handshakes after signing an agreement enabling students from each of their schools to study on each other’s campuses.
Their greetings were as warm as the sultry Greenwood morning as the two men, presidents of universities more than 7,000 miles apart, shook hands and renewed a friendship that began three months earlier in a cooler climate on the other side of the Pacific.
On June 21, Dr. Daniel Ball, president of Lander University welcomed Dr. Kyoo-Hyang Cho, president of Dong-A University in Busan, South Korea, to his home for breakfast, kicking off a three-day visit highlighted by the establishment of formal relations between the two institutions.
Dr. Hansik Song, dean of International Affairs at Dong-A, and Jane Na, manager of the Korean university’s international and study abroad and exchange programs, accompanied Cho.
It’s an honor to have you here,” Ball told the group pointing out that it was a historic occasion since they were the first delegation from Korea to visit Lander. The trip was scheduled to allow Ball and Cho to sign a memorandum of understanding opening the door for students from Lander and Dong-A to study on each other’s campuses.
Last March, Dong-A was one of the stops on their itinerary when Ball and Dr. Sung-Jae Park, Lander’s interim dean of international programs, traveled to Korea and China where they signed exchange agreements with five other institutions of higher education.
The Koreans had a busy agenda during their brief stay in Greenwood. They met with Lander’s president’s council whose members are the university’s senior administrators. They also had a chance to meet four Lander students who, days later, were to fly to Korea to take part in a four-week international summer session at Dong-A and Incheon universities.
Cho remarked that the agreement between his institution and Lander would benefit students and faculty of both schools. He added, “We look forward to having your students.” The president’s council was also shown a video presentation about Dong-A and the academic programs offered by its 11 colleges, two schools and 10 graduate schools.
The group visited Lander’s Equestrian Center and was given a tour by equestrian team coach Mary Hughston. They were also introduced to Lander’s therapeutic riding program and observed a horse being shod.
At the adjoining Burton Center, they met director Jimmy Burton who described the center’s mission. They paid a visit to the new Jeff May complex on Montague Avenue and heard assistant athletic director Steve Grogan explain that the recreation, wellness and sports facility is set to open in the fall.
During a dinner at Bermudas overlooking the Links at Stoney Point, the Koreans met with Greenwood-area residents who have shown interest in Lander’s international efforts, university board members and others. The delegation was taken on a tour of Fujifilm’s Greenwood manufacturing facility, which included a meeting with Shin Kataoka, president of Fujifilm-South Carolina.
Back at Lander, about 100 people were on hand to watch as Ball and Cho signed the memorandum of understanding making Lander one of nearly 130 universities and research institutions in more than 20 countries that have academic ties with Dong-A.
At a meeting prior to the signing ceremony, Mayor Wellborn Adams presented Cho, Song and Na certificates making them honorary citizens of Greenwood.
Jae Park said he has been able to establish ties with schools in Korea, China and Thailand in a short period of time thanks to the support of Ball, Lander’s board, administration and faculty. He noted that the benefits of student and faculty exchanges will extend beyond Lander to include Greenwood and the Upstate.
He added, “I encourage the community to welcome international students with your hearts.”
The Dong-A delegation’s visit ended on June 23 when they boarded a plane and flew to Canada on business before heading home to Korea.