March 14, 2001

I.C. President Appointed to Canadian Fulbright Board

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Ithaca College President Peggy R. Williams joined prominent leaders across North America from the corporate sector and higher education when she accepted a three-year term on the board of directors of the Foundation for Educational Exchange between Canada and the United States.

The organization was developed to supervise Canada’s management of the Fulbright program in Canada. Williams joins a board that is currently represented by Goldman Sachs Canada President James Kiernan Jr. and Nova Scotia Power CEO David Mann.

“Canada-U.S. Fulbright awards provide for research and teaching opportunities for Canadian and American faculty and students engaged in the study of Canada, the United States, and the relationship between the two countries,” the Ithaca College News Service reported following the announcement.

Williams was invited to join the board by Gordon Griffin, the U.S. ambassador to Canada.

“The addition of a prominent member of the academic community who is thoroughly familiar with both American and Canadian society will deepen the board’s commitment to bringing the Fulbright program in Canada to a new level of greater exchange,” Griffin wrote in an open letter to Williams.

Holding both American and Canadian citizenship, Williams feels a deep affinity to toward both countries.

“I was born and raised in Canada to an American father and Canadian mother, so I’ve definitely seen both sides of the border,” Williams said.

“President Williams has shown tremendous leadership in higher education on many fronts,” said Shelly Semmler, vice president for institutional advancement at Ithaca College. “This position is unique in that it deals with the Canada-U.S. relationship and President Williams is definitely a logical appointee.”

Williams was recognized as a national leader in drawing attention to the Fulbright Board and its academic and cultural programs.

“This recent appointment is an indication of a new era of emphasis in international studies and exchange,” said Tanya R. Saunders, assistant provost for special programs at Ithaca College.

As the newest addition to the board of directors, Williams must confront a myriad of administrative and technical issues dealing with Fulbright selection and management processes.

“The board acts on recommendations for awards to worthy scholars. They make the ultimate decisions to grant people the opportunity to study abroad,” she said.

Williams noted that funding is a major problem that almost always demands attention.

“There are lots of entities involved in funding. The board works hard to promote support of all kinds for the entire Fulbright effort,” she said.

Williams emphasized the value the board has in fostering international academic and cultural relations.

“While the United States and Canada are warm neighbors, traditional allies, and close trading partners, there is a lack of true mutual understanding that must be corrected for the continued vitality of our relationship. By fostering academic exchange, the Fulbright program helps to bridge the gaps in knowledge and understanding,” Williams said.

The connection to an international academic network will ultimately bear an impact on the local university as well.

“Dr. Williams’ timely appointment bodes well for Ithaca College’s greater involvement in international matters. This appointment will definitely attract more international students to the program and to Ithaca College,” Saunders said.

Archived article by Sai Pidatala