Ionian Student Newspaper, Staff Writer
President Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D. cut the ribbon to the brand new International Center in Driscoll Hall and said, “Today is the day we step forward and it is a great day to be a Gael.” The International Center is the new home of the Office of Study Abroard, Office of International Student Engagement and the ESL program.
The ceremony held on April 7 started in the Murphy Auditorium and began with a performance from the Music and Ministry Fellowship. The group sang a song that fit the concept of the International Center, “Go Make a Difference.”
Jerry Martin, the ESL Program Director, introduced all of the speakers including Brother Sean Moffett and Iona’s Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Michael Marsden. Both Moffett and Marsden spoke very fondly of the late Brother John G. Driscoll.
“Brother Driscoll was dedicated to internationalism so it is fitting that the new International Center is named after him,” Marsden said.
Dr. Carl Procario-Foley, the director of the Office of Mission and Ministy, spoke about the introduction to Heritage Week and this year’s theme of “Gaels Go Global.”
Two students gave reflections on their experience with international affairs here at Iona College. Senior Ryan Bacci represented the study abroad program, having studied in multiple countries and participated in international mission trips as well.
“At Iona, I had many opportunities to study internationalism which has contributed to my personal growth,” Bacci said. “No one person can move the world alone, and I am excited to see what the new International Center has in store for the future.”
Freshman Simon Wang from Beijing, China, is grateful to call Iona his current home.
“Although I have only been here for one year, Iona College is one of my favorite places in the States and thank you for making me feel at home,” Wang said.
After the ceremony was over, the faculty and students present proceeded across the street to Driscoll Hall for the ribbon cutting ceremony. Nyre spoke about how fantastic the center will be as a part of the Iona campus, calling it a part of Iona’s plan to take action and bring together the targeted global skill sets.
After the ribbon was cut, students and faculty grabbed flags from countries all over the world and started the march down Mayflower Avenue.
“These are the flags of the nations that our students will go to as they move the world,” said Moffett about the procession.
It was quite a sight to see North Avenue temporarily shut down as police let the members of the Iona community cross with over one hundred flags and people took out their phones to take pictures.
The flag march ended at Mazzella Field where the flags were placed along the outside of the field. The ceremony and the procession marked the official kick-off of Heritage Week and opening of the International Center.