June 2, 2020
Contact: Kenny Gerling, email@example.com
Public health precautions interfered with the Global Leadership Program’s final ceremony plans. The program, which is an initiative of the MU Asian Affairs Center, brings international scholars to Mizzou to enhance their global competency and cross-cultural communication skills. In response to health precautions, the center’s director, Sang Kim, started looking for socially distanced ways to celebrate.
“Drive-throughs are maybe one of the most American things,” Kim said. “We thought — why don’t we try a drive-through celebration? It would be a good way to honor our scholars before they return to their home countries.”
On May 29, departing scholars drove along Circle Drive at the north end of the historic Francis Quadrangle. The socially distant ceremony included booths where students received their final certificates, Mizzou souvenirs and ice cream donated by Giofre Apiaries. Before the event, 23 scholars gave final presentations over Zoom to cap off their time in the U.S. and at the University of Missouri.
“For our visiting scholars, this is an experience of a lifetime,” Kim said. “We wanted to give something special to them and make it memorable.”
Linsen Wang, a human resources manager from Beijing, arrived last June and recently completed the program. He was eager to take part in the drive-through ceremony and said it was a great chance to say goodbye and make one more lasting memory.
“I will come back to Columbia,” Wang said. “I like this city,” he thought for a moment and then corrected himself, “I love this city.”
Dae Seung Kim, another graduate, arrived with his family in 2019 to participate in the program.
Kim has been many things in his life: a journalist, law student, instructor and research fellow at a university in his hometown of Gwangju, South Korea. Now, he can add one more accomplishment to his resume: Mizzou Tiger. Kim said he participated in the drive-through ceremony so he could be surrounded — from a distance — with the new friends he has made.
“We wanted that sense of festivity and encouragement,” Kim said. “We wanted to empathize among ourselves and remember all that we did. It’s part of the process of becoming Mizzou alumni,” he said.
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