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ACU Home > Major Events > News > 2004 News Archive > Malagasy students arrive, are welcomed to ACU, Abilene

Malagasy students arrive, are welcomed to ACU, Abilene

For immediate release
Aug. 5, 2004

Students, faculty and staff at Abilene Christian University welcomed 22 students from Madagascar at a reception Wednesday. The students arrived in Abilene Tuesday evening and were formally welcomed by the city and the university Wednesday.

The students came to ACU through a unique scholarship program to educate future leaders for Madagascar, an island nation off the coast of Africa. The arrangement came about through a visit to Madagascar by Dr. John Tyson, ACU vice president for development. The agreement was formalized in April between Tyson and President Ravalomanana.

At the reception, Tyson described his conversations with the Malagasy president. Ravalomanana presented himself as a Christian businessman and was excited to learn of ACU, Tyson said.

"He banged his fist on his desk and said 'Thatís just the kind of place Iím looking for to develop the leaders of the future for Madagascar,'" Tyson said.

Also at the reception, Anthony Williams, mayor pro tem for the City of Abilene, welcomed the students on behalf of the city and presented a proclamation from the mayor declaring Aug. 4, 2004 Madagascar ACU Students Day in Abilene.

After being formally welcomed by Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen, provost, on behalf of the faculty and administration, and by Layne Rouse, executive president of the Studentsí Association, on behalf of the student body, the 22 Malagasy students participated in the reception by singing a Malagasy song to the crowd.

English language courses, American culture classes and typical college orientation activities will occupy much of the next two weeks for the students. They will also participate in social events and Abilene outings.

The 22 students are all scholarship recipients from 15 regions of the Republic of Madagascar, and their tuition for the next four years will be paid by the government of Madagascar. Students who accepted the scholarship agreed to return to their home nation for at least two years upon graduation, according to Madagascarís Minister of Education, Haja Razafinjatovo.


If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Wendy Kilmer, Director of Public Relations.

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