Visit by Ms. Maxine Griffith (Executive Vice President of Columbia University) to WKU

On March 20th, the Executive Vice President of Columbia University, Maxine Griffith visited our university. In the morning, Ms. Griffith had a tour around the campus and was briefly introduced to the construction and development of the University. She provided suggestions on the university’s relationship with the community and government. Chair of University Council, Mr. Wang Beijiao, Vice Chairs of University Council, Mr. Qian Qiang, Dr. Zheng Xiaodong and Zeng Ruihua and other heads of departments also attended the meeting. Dr. Zheng Xiaodong introduced the university’s construction plan to Ms. Griffith.

Mr. Wang extended his welcome to Ms. Griffith and said that Ms. Griffith is a long-standing friend of Wenzhou because her friendship with the city was established in Philadelphia more than 10 years ago, and she visited Wenzhou in 2004. Mr. Wang also expressed his gratitude for Ms. Griffith’s concern and support to Wenzhou. He also noted that a great university can not be established without a sound plan, so he hoped Ms. Griffith could offer her advice on WKU’s campus planning initiatives. And he also hoped that WKU could have more communication with Columbia University in the future so as to provide real international education for our students.

Ms. Griffith said that she has a special place for Wenzhou in her heart, because Wenzhou is not only a city she visited in the past but also the first city she visited in China. She also congratulated on the establishment of Wenzhou-Kean University and invited Mr. Wang and other leaders of WKU to pay a visit to Columbia University. Then she introduced her philosophy and ideas of campus planning and provided her opinions on campus construction. She said that, as Columbia University is established step by step, Wenzhou-Kean University’s development is on the right track with the joint effort from both China and U.S. She suggested that the construction of the campus should meet the need of the academic programs, and the buildings should not only be advanced in technology but also be flexible in layout. She also pointed out that WKU shall further enhance its relationship with the city and the community so as to establish a successful international university.

On March 21st, Ms. Maxine Griffith was the inaugural speaker of the newly launched Global Lectures Series. Using examples from Columbia University’s current expansion plans, the topic of her lecture was “The University and the City—A Partnership for Growth.” The Global Lectures Series has been conceptualized by Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dr. Holger Henke, to create an umbrella under which engaging and significant speakers from the world of business and management, scholarship and research in the natural sciences and humanities, popular culture and the creative arts, diplomacy and international relations, and non-governmental organizations could be invited to speak to WKU students and the broader public in Wenzhou.

Ms. Griffith stayed at WKU for 5 days and communicated with Kean University and Wenzhou-Kean University teams from Campus Planning and Construction and Academic Affairs on issues of campus planning and architectural design.