Displaying immense support for the international community at Virginia Tech or Virginia Polytechnic and State University, a Southwest Virginia family has donated $7 million to expand the support services and programmes for international students.
The donation of such an amount is a first for the University’s student affairs and is directed to help the Cranwell International Centre, aptly named after the family name. The purpose of the centre was to address the specific needs of the international student community which includes 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students, hailing from over 100 countries.
The Cranwell family, which includes Bill and Ellen Cranwell as well as his brother Bob and Susie Cranwell came together and pooled in the donation. Bill and Bob Cranwell are former students of the university and have aspired to build a welcoming home for international students.
The University has been able to use the Cranwell family donation already, in initiatives such as pre-departure programmes for students in China, an International Street Fair, different intercultural training programmes. The donation has also been used for the Global Fellow Residence Programme to offer short-term housing for globally-oriented researchers or speakers.
Sources have stated that the fund is earmarked for improving the Mozaiko Living-Learning Community within the Centre, which started fours years ago. This community allows international students to live together and learn more about each other’s cultures.
The Cranwell Donation will also be used for new programme development grants that are expected to begin this Fall semester, among other new initiatives. The grants are earmarked for the purpose of supporting initiatives from student organisations, departments and living-learning programmes that impact the international student experience or international growth with the community members at Virginia Tech.
With universities across the US working towards improving the student support services and programmes for international students, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the investment will facilitate many newer initiatives and programmes at Virginia Tech.
The Cranwell family have been supporting Virginia Tech, especially financially, focusing specifically on improving the campus environment for international students. Among the other donations, the Cranwell family also donated their home to the university in 1986, which became the Cranwell International Centre. While the centre was moved to another building recently, the Cranwell House still works as a community centre for international students.
Virginia Tech’s international community centre has been recognised and is appreciated by the university’s international student community. In his statements, Bill Cranwell reiterated his and his family’s legacy of supporting the international student community through means of such gifts, and their promise of lending a supportive hand in the future as well.