Sunday, May 18, 2008

Rector's visit to Michigan Tech

I was delighted when University of Malta Rector [like a university president], Prof. Juanito Camilleri, and his Director of International Master's Programs, Prof. Albert Caruana, decided to visit Michigan Tech. I decided it would be good if I came home for a week to help host their visit--and it also happened that it came on my 29th wedding anniversary. We even had good weather, though it had snowed earlier in the day that we arrived. My husband and I took our visitors out "Copper Country Cruising" on a tour of the Keweenaw Peninsula. They saw Lake Superior, which is simply hard to believe until you've seen it--all fresh water. They saw our "snow thermometer" on how many inches of snow we get (another post), they saw trees and more trees, there was a hawk migration going on and that was fun to watch, there was even an inland lake that was still mostly frozen--Dr. Caruana managed to send a rock skittering over the ice. Neither he nor the Rector had seen such a thing.

The meetings at Tech went very well, too! President Mroz, Provost Lovett-Doust, and Vice President for Research David Reed met in the morning with the visitors (and me), then we met a number of faculty and staff throughout the rest of the day. The deans took them to lunch and it was there that a new idea for a joint project emerged--something on restoration ecology. We ended the first day at dinner with Mroz, Lovett-Doust, Reed, and Chief Financial Officer Dan Greenlee--the group toasted happy anniversary to Don and me. That was a unique anniversary dinner for us! The next day was more informal. I took them to see the Benedict Lab (photo next post) that does crucial research into cement and concrete, we visited with more faculty and staff. It was fun and also nice for me to see everyone.

We all hope to build some new programs between our schools. Some ideas on the table as possibilities are in intermodal transportation logistics, digital security, restoration ecology, and perhaps an international experience for Pavlis Leadership undergraduates. In fact, we discussed even more options for faculty and student exchanges. We'll see. In the end, successful exchanges require mutual faculty interest to work.

At the very least, I was happy that Drs. Camilleri and Caruana got to see my school. I'm always talking about it. We joined a "pick up" lunch table on our second day in the student union and the faculty members there had lots of questions about Malta. Afterwards, the Rector said, "I think that Malta must seem like a nearly imaginary place to the outside." I told him that it was the same way with Michigan Tech. Until you see what wonderful, smart places Malta and Tech are, it is just plain hard to believe they exist.

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