NEW YORK, June 6, 2012—The Institute of International Education presented awards for outstanding service to campus representatives from the University of Arkansas and St. Mary’s University of San Antonio who have made extraordinary contributions to the field of international education through their work on the Fulbright and Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Programs. The awards were presented at a special reception that IIE held in Houston on May 31.
Mary Kirk, the Institute’s Senior Counselor for Academic Exchanges, welcomed campus partners from across the country and around the world, thanking them for the important role they play in the success of these programs and in expanding international opportunities for their students. She also recognized several visiting Fulbright Commission executive directors for their role in furthering the bi-national priorities of the program in many of the more than 150 countries in which the program operates.
The Fulbright Program is our nation’s flagship international educational and cultural exchange program, offering grants to study, teach and conduct research for U.S. citizens to go abroad and non-U.S. citizens to come to the United States. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide. Both programs are funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and administered by the Institute.
Gloria Flores Passmore, the Associate Director of Recruitment and Sponsored Student Programs at the University of Arkansas, was recognized for her commitment to the Fulbright Program, and her invaluable role in furthering the partnership between IIE and the University of Arkansas in support of the students they host. When these students complete their studies they return to their home countries and serve as important links between the United States, Arkansas, and the university in business, government, education, and industry. The university has a historically strong relationship with the Fulbright Program that dates back to its earliest days. Senator Fulbright was a University of Arkansas alumnus and served as president of the university prior to his career in government and his sponsorship of the legislation in 1946 creating the scholarship program that bears his name.
Ms. Flores Passmore began working with IIE on the Fulbright Program in 2007, when she took on responsibility for sponsored student programs at the university. In the past five years, the program has grown the number of sponsored students served by the university from 87 to 213, and has been instrumental in assisting with the development of the University of Arkansas Fulbright Scholars association at the campus home of Senator Fulbright. She serves as the group’s co-advisor. She worked closely with IIE after the launching the Fulbright Tsunami Relief Initiative in 2007, and on managing the bi-annual enrichment workshops for the Fulbright Students from Aceh, Indonesia.
In presenting the award, IIE’s Emily Bosio, who works closely with Ms. Flores Passmore in monitoring Fulbright students, commented that “Gloria’s ability to manage complex issues has taught me about her dedication and commitment to our work. Working with sponsored students takes every fiber of your being, a level of comfort with ambiguity, and a problem solver mentality. Gloria is all of these things and more.”
Minita Santizo, Director of International Education Programs at St. Mary’s University, was honored by IIE for her contributions to the field of international education for nearly 40 years and most notably her decade of work with the Gilman International Scholarship Program. Ms. Santizo has served as a selection panelist and Gilman campus advisor and recently completed a three-year term on the Gilman National Advisory Panel. She has played an important role in expanding study abroad opportunities at St. Mary’s University, which has grown from its roots as the oldest Catholic university in Texas and the Southwest to become a nationally recognized liberal arts institution with a diverse student population of nearly 4,000 of all faiths and backgrounds.
In presenting the award, IIE’s Houston Office Director Michelle Pickard, who oversees IIE’s administration of the Gilman Program, commented that Ms. Santizo has done much to open up the world to generations of underrepresented students, including many Hispanic women.
Ms. Santizo attributes her success in reaching underrepresented students to reaching out to and educating the parents about study abroad. With her extensive background in student services and a deep belief in the value of an international experience, she provides careful, constructive advice and information in the selection of the right program for each student, guiding them through the process, with special attention to their personal safety, economic circumstances and academic well-being while abroad. She is committed to helping diverse students gain access to international education opportunities, advising students that success in their careers as well as in personal and professional growth is greatly dependent on the understanding, insights and experience that can only be gained by spending some meaningful time in another country.
Institute of International Education
Founded in 1919, the Institute of International Education (IIE) is a private not-for-profit leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. In partnership with governments, foundations and other sponsors, IIE administers programs of study and training for students, educators and professionals from all sectors. These programs include the flagship Fulbright Program and Gilman Scholarships administered for the U.S. Department of State. IIE also conducts policy research, provides resources on international exchange opportunities and offers support to students and scholars in danger.