After a 12-day relationship-building trip to China, Dean Yunzeng Wang and Director of International Relations Steve Chen of the UCR School of Business Administration (SoBA) procured both goodwill and a $100,000 endowment from various universities. Seven other UCR affiliates, including Chancellor Kim Wilcox, also participated in the trip, which ended on Jan. 16.
Given by Xiangdong Le, chairman of Sichuan Ruixin Industrial Group and the China West International Education Foundation, the endowment, entitled the China West Scholarship Endowment Fund, will create scholarships for international students seeking to study at SoBA.
Members of UCR also signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the Shanghai Maritime University, affirming the universities’ desires to exchange students, faculty and staff, as well as academic material.
Furthermore, the agreements described planned collaboration in research and the intent to hold international symposia on topics of mutual interest. One of the agreements also laid out the partnership between the Shanghai Maritime University’s Logistics Research Center and UCR’s Institute of Supply Chain Analytics and Logistics Studies.
Though MOUs are not legally binding documents, they reflect the intentions of the two parties in regards to each other. UCR currently holds over 200 international institutional agreements in over 30 countries, with varying levels of formality.
Other stops on the tour included Sichuan University, Hubei University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, the China Association of Science and Technology and China Agricultural University.
Third-year business major and SoBA ambassador Alyssa Stump commented on the international excursion, saying, “China is doing some great things and UCR should be partnered with faculty and business out there. Nine (people) might be excessive though.”
In today’s global environment, international partnerships have quickly become important aspects of many American universities’ tactical plans to expand their influence. International students are 6 percent of UCR’s current student body, while 29.7 percent of UCR graduate students claim international status.
Improving international ties, though potentially costly, has paid off for UCR in the past. UCR’s largest donation ever came from Chinese businessman Winston Chung, whose name rests atop Chung Hall in recognition of his $10 million contribution.
The UCR Development Office has yet to provide the actual cost of the trip, and details about the application process for the China West Scholarship have yet to be formed.
Hieu Nguyen, associate vice chancellor for development, said the trip was worth the cost. “Opportunities to develop relationships and connections overseas as well in other regions of the world are always worth the effort,” Nguyen said. “We would not have embarked on such an trip if we did not think the return on investment was there.”