President Swallow connects with Carthage network in Asia
Over the first 13 months of his presidency, John R. Swallow has made a point to meet face-to-face with as many Carthaginians as possible.
Naturally for a mathematical scholar, he planned those visits in an outwardly expanding series of concentric circles.
Beginning last summer with a public event in Kenosha, the shared center point for the widely dispersed Carthage community, President Swallow gradually extended the radius to build connections throughout the Midwest and then on both East and West coasts.
institutional advancement, accompanied President Swallow and his wife, Cameron.Geographically speaking, that journey reached the outermost point of the College’s network in July when he led a small delegation to Asia. Thomas Kline, vice president for
Their trip stretched over two weeks, with stays in Japan, China, and Hong Kong. The itinerary featured meetings with a variety of educational leaders.
During a visit to Japan’s capital, President Swallow renewed a student exchange agreement with Tokyo Gakugei University that President Emeritus F. Gregory Campbell established in 1996. Carthage requires all modern language majors to study abroad, and TGU is the primary exchange partner for the College’s growing Japanese program.
“Just as I have learned how important relationships are in the Midwest, I have learned that there is no substitute for a personal connection with faculty and administrators at the Asian educational institutions we visited,” President Swallow said. “I am very excited about the possibilities for what we may do together in the future, with mutual benefit.”
The midsummer expedition to the Far East capped off an introductory tour he began soon after taking office in July 2017. Each time his circle of contacts grew, President Swallow gathered more ideas that he says will refine his vision for Carthage’s future.
He’s considering options to provide students with greater access to internships and academic programs beyond U.S. borders. Already, thanks to a slate of popular J-Term study tours, Carthage ranks No. 5 nationally in its category for student participation in short-term study abroad.
Exchange programs are two-way pipelines, of course, as administrators were pleasantly reminded. At the China Conservatory in Beijing, President Swallow met a group of students who were preparing to depart the next day for Kenosha and the Great Lakes Music Festival, which Professor Corinne Ness organized on campus.
Officials from other schools — including Beijing Dance Academy, Centennial College, Lingnan University, and Hang Seng Management School — expressed strong interest in enhancing collaborations with Carthage.
The trip also paved the way for a stronger admissions push in Asia, as the College begins to augment its global recruiting efforts. The College’s strategic plan calls on administrators to boost the international student population from 1 percent of total enrollment today to 5 percent by 2025.
Besides diversifying the student body, President Swallow believes a healthy foreign contingent boosts cultural literacy. He endorses that as a critical component of a well-rounded education in today’s globally interconnected society.
Sometimes the guests from Wisconsin could skip right past the Carthage elevator pitch, because the hosts were intimately familiar with the small, private liberal arts college on Lake Michigan’s shore. President Swallow set aside time to connect with several prominent Carthaginians in the region, including:
- Masato Mizuno ’70, who retired as chairman of sporting goods maker Mizuno Corporation to lead Tokyo’s winning bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
- Steve Chapman, a former Carthage trustee and parent who endowed the College’s Chapman Executive-in-Residence program. He directs operations in China (as well as Russia) for Cummins Inc., which designs, manufactures, and services engines, power generation equipment, and related components.
- Lowell Gretebeck ’82, senior advisor to the board at the JELA (Japan Evangelical Lutheran Association) Foundation.
- Jim Chen ’78, an accomplished international businessman who is the chairman at Bright Group (Holdings) Ltd. and director of Chinney Investments Ltd.
The traveling party even witnessed the birth of a Carthage alumni chapter in Hong Kong. Mr. Chen, one of the first students from mainland China to attend a U.S. college after the Cultural Revolution, hosted the first gathering.
“Seeing recent and older graduates deepen their relationships with one another was inspirational,” President Swallow said, “and all agreed that they would be glad to assist Carthage students seeking opportunities in Asia more broadly.”