July 14, 2009
|Eight students from Hwa Nan Women's University get their first taste of food from Morningside's main dining room in the Olsen Student Center.
One hundred years after a Morningside College graduate helped found Hwa Nan Women’s University in Fuzhou, China, the two institutions have renewed their ties by instituting a two-way exchange program that begins this month.
On Thursday, July 16, eight recent graduates of Hwa Nan Women’s University will arrive in Sioux City, after flying into Omaha, Neb., to begin 13-14 months of study at Morningside that will lead to a bachelor’s degree in international studies. In turn, a Morningside College professor and three Morningside students arrived in Fuzhou on July 3 to begin a month-long stint teaching English and American culture courses at Hwa Nan Women’s University.
The two-way exchange is the result of an agreement signed by Morningside College and Hwa Nan Women’s University in October 2008 in Fuzhou, China, during Hwa Nan’s centennial celebration. The agreement specifies that each year Morningside will give a small number of Hwa Nan graduates preferential scholarships to enroll as full-time students on the Sioux City college’s campus. Every summer, Morningside also will send a faculty member, and possibly some students, to Hwa Nan to teach for a month.
The eight Chinese students will begin classes at Morningside College on Monday, July 20. Their first course, Orientation to American Culture, will meet every weekday through August 14 and will be taught by a team of nine Morningside instructors. Topics covered in the course include history, politics, education, geography, religion and mass communications.
Greg Guelcher, associate professor of history at Morningside, launched the exchange program earlier this month by traveling to China with Morningside students Jordan Aggen of Anita, Iowa, Greg Anderson of Sioux City, and Adam Gonshorowski of Dakota City, Neb. Guelcher and the three students are teaching classes during Hwa Nan’s summer session.
Lydia Trimble, a 1904 Morningside graduate, was involved with the founding of Hwa Nan in 1908 by the Women’s Foreign Ministry Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church and served as the school’s first president. Hwa Nan’s second and third presidents also were Morningside College graduates. In 1908, the Methodist Episcopal Church elected W.S. Lewis, Morningside’s president from 1897 to 1908, as bishop of China, and he served for eight years in Fuzhou, the city in which Hwa Nan Women’s University is located.
Morningside College's efforts to re-establish connections with Hwa Nan started in the spring of 2008 when Morningside President John Reynders accompanied the college's choir on a tour of China. Reynders and other Morningside representatives made a side trip to Fuzhou to meet with Hwa Nan President Zhang Xunjie. Hwa Nana responded by sending a representative to Morningside College in the summer of 2008 to work out details of an exchange partnership. Both schools signed the final agreement in October 2008.
Hwa Nan Women’s University is a private three-year college located along China’s east coast about halfway between Hong Kong and Shanghai. The only private all-women’s college in China, Hwa Nan enrolls about 2,000 students and offers the equivalent of a U.S. associate’s degree in areas of study such as applied English, business English, international tourism, food and nutrition, and early childhood education.