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University of Central Missouri
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Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
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Wesly Family Gift Creates Award to Recognize Student, Faculty International Experiences

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Sept. 23, 2008) – A $100,000 commitment from the Benoit Wesly family of Maastricht, The Netherlands, will create two new awards at UCM recognizing excellence in international education.

UCM Maastricht Medallion Awards Video - click play button below to view the video

The establishment of these awards was announced publicly by UCM President Aaron Podolefsky in an agreement signing ceremony and reception that took place on campus. Benoit Wesly, who was visiting the university, was there for the announcement, and also presented the president with an autographed copy of his recent book, Nothing New.

Award Recognizes International Experiences

The UCM Maastricht Medallion International Award annually will honor both a member of the university’s faculty or staff and a student who have fostered, promoted or participated in an international experience. The award includes a cash gift for faculty or staff and a scholarship for students as well as a bronze replica of the Presidential Medallion, commissioned and contributed to the university by the Wesly family earlier this year.

“The Maastricht Medallion International Award will become a significant honor and an integral part of our efforts to enhance international education on campus,” Podolefsky said.

Longtime Friend and Benefactor of UCM

Benoit Wesly is a noted international entrepreneur whose friendship with the university dates back more than 20 years. He was instrumental in establishing many of the international study and internship opportunities at UCM, including the Maastricht Center for Transatlantic Studies in 1995. Wesly has served as a member of the UCM Foundation Board of Directors for more than a decade and returns to campus each year as a guest lecturer in a variety of academic departments. He and his family have contributed to many projects on campus, most notably the Maastricht Friendship Tower. This fall marks the 10th anniversary of the tower’s dedication and its use as the symbol for international understanding at UCM.

During 2008 spring commencement ceremonies, Wesly presented a silver medallion of the university’s new academic crest to Podolefsky and spoke of his fondness for UCM.

“Knowledge is the key to unlimited opportunities, and Central Missouri is a valuable whetstone for the mind,” Wesly said.

Benefitting the University Community

To be considered for the UCM Maastricht Medallion International Award, students must be full-time undergraduate or graduate students in good academic standing with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0. They must also demonstrate extraordinary achievement in international education and have participated in either a study-abroad program or an international internship. Faculty and staff members must be nominated by the chair of an academic department on campus and demonstrate a history of promoting international experiences among UCM students.

“The Wesly family’s tremendous generosity has benefited many UCM students, faculty, staff, and alumni,” Podolefsky said. “We are grateful for their continued generosity and commitment to fund this significant annual award recognizing excellence in international education.”

The agreement signing ceremony was hosted by the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies. Joan Mansfield, dean of the college, presented Wesly with a framed photograph of the Maastricht Friendship Tower, a structure made possible through a gift from the Wesly family. She said it was in celebration of the family’s generous support in establishing the new award.