It’s graduation season. Illinois Wesleyan University is sending 424 students into the world this academic year, and 386 of them will participate in ceremonies at the Shirk Center on Sunday, IWU officials said.
Illinois State University’s graduation will be May 11 and 12.
This year's IWU graduating class features the largest-ever population of international students, 44 graduates, 33 of whom are from China, according to IWU spokesperson John Twork.
“In fact this year, for the first time ever, commencement is being real-time translated in Mandarin and Spanish for guests,” said Twork.
One of the graduating international students is “Timur” Guo Chen. It’s a very different kind of higher education experience, he said. In China, he said, it’s mostly under the control of the government.
“In the U.S., I would say there is more liberty and freedom of speech in terms of what you are learning and more resources you have access to. And I think the sciences are more rigorous here,” said Guo Chen.
Timur said he feels resources after graduation are more plentiful in the U.S. than in China. He’s going to Duke in the fall to start a Ph.D. program in physical therapy.
IWU has boosted overtures to attract international students as a component of its diversity effort.
Timur said that’s working.
“I was one of the members of the Chinese Cultural Communication Club, which tried to talk to other students about life in China. It’s a refreshing experience for many of my American friends to learn things firsthand from many international students from China, Vietnam, Nepal, and many other countries around the world,” said Guo Chen.
The speaker for IWU commencement will be Kirk Schroeder, a 1984 graduate of the liberal arts school in Bloomington and the founder of two bioscience companies. The first invented, manufactured and commercialized the first high-throughput cell-based drug screening system in the life science industry, FLIPR.
The second, Essen Bioscience of Ann Arbor, Michigan, grew into a global company with employees and facilities in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Essen developed laboratory instruments and software, including analytical instruments for making electrical measurements on living cells, and a real-time imaging system.
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