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BYU to open Center for the Study of Europe Sept. 25

Funded by $1.2 million Title VI grant

Funded by a Title VI grant of more than $1.2 million, the Center for the Study of Europe at Brigham Young University will officially open during a ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 25.

BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson, Jeff Ringer, director of the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies (which is hosting the new center), Wade Jacoby, the center's director, and other university officials will attend the formal opening scheduled for 11 a.m. in 238 Herald R. Clark Building south of the Lee Library.

The opening ceremony will focus on the grant's specific implications for faculty and students and provide information regarding their potential involvement in the center.

"This is the first area grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to BYU," said International Vice President Sandra Rogers. "It is a tribute to our fine faculty and the strengths we have in international area studies."

The grant to "establish, strengthen and operate comprehensive and undergraduate language and area/international studies centers that will be national resources" is due in large part to the efforts of three BYU faculty: Hans-Wilhelm Kelling, professor of German; Kristie Seawright, Abell Professor of Manufacturing Leadership, who catalyzed the application process and gathered the information required for the grant proposal; and Wade Jacoby, associate professor of political science.

Given only to select higher education institutions, the grant will be used at BYU to support the teaching of European languages and their geographical and cultural usage to further prepare students for professional European studies careers.

The grant will also establish national, regional and local outreach and consultation services, and help form new links while maintaining long-standing relationships with higher education institutions and other organizations in Europe.

"That means some new courses," said Jacoby. "As contemporary Europe moves toward integration, some important questions are arising."

Ed McDermott, Department of Education program officer for the grant, noted that panel reviewers were impressed with the existing programs of study at BYU. In addition, he commented, "The proposed activities made BYU an excellent program to recommend for funding."

Scholarly research will expand, with part of the funding increasing the European holdings in the Lee Library. In this way, Jacoby hopes to increase the amount of research being done by faculty and students.

"We're trying to build an ethos on campus that an important part of the undergraduate and graduate experience is to be involved not just in consuming knowledge but in producing knowledge as well," he explained.

A steering committee--comprised of Stanley Benfell (comparative literature), Craig Harline (history), Julie Hartley (anthropology), Eric Samuelsen (theatre), Scott Sprenger (French and Italian) and Mark Wrathall (philosophy)--has been hard at work on the program.

"The purpose is really to build national expertise. Receiving this grant signifies that the faculty in European studies and languages at BYU are contributing to the world," said Seawright. "Our government is investing to strengthen them."

A significant portion of the grant money--$168,000 a year--has also been set apart to provide foreign language and area studies fellowships for graduate students.

"The recognition behind Title VI is that we need to invest a lot in order to understand other societies," said Jacoby. "The Europeans invest a great deal in understanding us. Now we at BYU are being given an opportunity to better understand them."

Press kits with details about the grant, program directors, faculty and student spotlights and more will be available at the official opening. For more information, contact Wade Jacoby, 742 Spencer W. Kimball Tower, (801) 422-1711, or

Writer: Lee Simons

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