Vice Chancellor Mr. Philip·Connelly and Dr. Toby Michelena Win 2016 Yandang Friendship Award
On October19th, 2016 Wenzhou City Foreign Expert “Yandang Friendship Award” Ceremony was held in Wenzhou Great Hall of People. Mr. Philip Connelly, Executive Vice Chancellor at Wenzhou-Kean University and Dr. Toby Michelena, a Biology professor at WKU won this award. Mr. Connelly made a speech as a representative.
“I no longer use the term “visiting”, because Wenzhou is my home”
He said, “It has been more that eleven years since I first came to Wenzhou. I am particularly grateful to receive this award, and I accept this in recognition of my more than 35 trips to Wenzhou over the past eleven years. I no longer use the term “visiting” Wenzhou, because it is my home and I plan on making it my home for many years to come.”
In the 1990s, Mr. Connelly served as deputy mayor of Elizabeth, the third largest city in New Jersey, United States. He received many Chinese official delegations and every time, he introduced to them about the government operations system in the United States. In May 2006, President Xijinping, serving as the Party Secretary of Zhejiang Province at that time, attended the signing ceremony on establishing Wenzhou-Kean University that held at Kean University, New Jersey. He delivered warm remarks, encouraging communications between China-US in education. Guided by President Xi and Dr.Farahi, President of Kean University’s great vision, Mr. Connelly devoted himself to this project. Looking back the history of WKU, Mr. Connelly said” it has certainly has not been an easy process”. He considered the successful establishment and operation of WKU can hardly do without Wenzhou geographical advantage and vigorous economy, and the support from the government at various levels.
During the 35times trips to China, Mr.Connelly visited Embassy of United States in China, Consulate General of the Unite States and America Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and other instituions and companies, looking for opportunities of internship and furture studies for students. When he was in Wenzhou, he had a lot of meetings with the WKU leadership and department heads; he also took part in making stragtegic planning. Not long ago, he gave up his executive vice president postion at Kean University and came to serve as WKU’s executive vice chacellor. Like he always said, “ I bought a one-way ticket to Wenzhou.” His determination and dedication to the University has been widely recognized.
“The more I explore, the more fasciniating Wenzhou becomes”
Toby Michelena joined WKU in Sepetember,2015 as biology faculty. He teaches biology theory and pratice,as well as environmental sciences. Since the establishment of WKU, he applied to teach at Wenzhou when he was a faculty member at Kean University.
Dr.Michelena is quite popular among WKU students. In the eyes of the students, he is kind,humble and humorous. He knows how to work effectively with people from different cultures.
After came to Wenzhou, He has been actively looking for opportunities of research cooperation. He wants to contribute his part to the research strength of WKU and Wenzhou City. Before he became a teacher, he has worked in Washinton States for many years. He was in the field of environmental protection, mainly in oil, water and energy cleaning. Based on his working experience and his biology PhD education background, he successfully applied the Wenzhou city scientic and research project. Currently, he is working with the Municipal Government to investigate the causes and magnitude of pollution in the rivers(Tanghe River) and canals of Wenzhou. Besides, he is also actively involved in the local community. He has been the guest speaker for many events that hosted by the community, universities, and volunteer association. He is also a tutor at English Corner.
“It is a great honor to receive the Yandang Friendship Award from Wenzhou Municipality. As a new member of Wenzhounes, I hope I could contribute my part to make this city more beautiful with my enthusiasm and knowledge. The more I explore, the more fasciniating Wenzhou becomes,” he said.
WKU Occupies Two Seats of the Fifteen Foreign Experts this year
Recent years, Wenzhou has been vigorously implementing the strategy of “Talent strengthen the City”, actively attracting and encouraging high-level talents, from both domestic and overseas. Currently, about 400 foreign experts are working in Wenzhou, ranging from enterprises, high-education institutions and research institutions. In 2003, the municipal government set up the Yandang Friendship Award to reward foreign experts that make outstanding contribution to the city. Up to now, there has been 207 prize winners.
The fifteen winners are from the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Japan and other eleven countries. Eight of them are working in companies, seven in educational and research field.