Oregon State University’s College of Business has received a $1 million gift to support an international exchange program.
The $1 million gift will provide travel grants for the Arthur Stonehill International Business Exchange Program and help fund curriculum development on international topics in the College of Business.
“This is a marvelous gift,” said Ilene Kleinsorge, dean of the College of Business. “An absolute marvelous gift. I think that it’s a critical gift, at a time when our students must fully appreciate the global economy.”
The exchange program was founded in 1987 by Stonehill, a former finance department chair who taught finance and international business at OSU for more than 20 years. The $1 million endowment will fund travel grants “in perpetuity,” Kleinsorge said.
Through the Arthur Stonehill International Business Exchange Program, each year approximately 60 OSU College of Business students enroll in programs in Australia, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Singapore, Sweden and Thailand. In its 20 years, more than 400 OSU students have participated and 400 international students from partner universities have attended OSU, Kleinsorge said.
“It’s really an import-export kind of thing,” she said. “It brings diversity of perspectives and other students into OSU.”
“With the budget situation, the support of our donors to honor the faculty who changed their lives is so critical to our future, the future of higher ed,” Kleinsorge said. “The generosity of our graduates has played a key role.”
The donor, Joe Lobbato, was one of Stonehill’s former students, and earned his undergraduate and MBA degrees from OSU in 1981 and 1982. He was a founding partner of Accenture and currently resides in Thailand.
Retired in 1991, professor emeritus Stonehill also taught at Aarhus University in Denmark, one of the partner universities.
Stonehill wanted to make the program available to all students.
“One of the problems was, just the rich kids went,” Stonehill said.
In the early years of the program, alumni Lobbato and Payson Cha donated funds for the travel scholarships, Stonehill said. Cha also provided the connection with City University of Hong Kong.
“The big thing is, obviously it’s a life-changing experience,” Stonehill said, noting he has received letters over the years from grateful students.
“These guys are more global because they’ve had the foreign exchange experience. They’re immediately recognized as more global-thinking. It makes them much more salable.”