U of L's global imprint seen in Hong Kong
We often think of the University of Lethbridge’s global imprint by the number of international students we have studying here on campus. Often forgotten is the impact a U of L educated student makes once leaving campus and applying that knowledge in the real world.
Hong Kong is one place where the University has made its mark, as evidenced by the recent alumni reception that tapped into the more than 400 U of L alumni in the area, the largest such concentration of graduates in one place outside of Canada. Bringing those people together to celebrate their alma mater represents a step toward keeping them connected to the University.
“We have found that there’s a really strong bond between the folks who graduated from the U of L who are in Hong Kong,” Laurel Corbiere, director of the International Centre for Students, says. “They want to hear from the University and they want to get together so we were really happy to be able to put together an event that facilitated that.”
Two attendees of the gathering, Jimmy Chu and Howard Stribbell, offer completely divergent stories from their experience at the University, but today they are connected by the similarity that their educations are making a significant contribution to the Hong Kong area.
Stribbell (BA/BEd, MEd), who grew up in southern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan, is the vice principal of secondary at the International School of Macao in Macao SAR, China.
“My master’s program was essential in pushing me to grow in my professional life,” Stribbell says. “I absolutely loved teaching. I delighted in the community that we were able to foster within a classroom. Through my master’s program, my goals began to broaden. I saw the value of extending that learning community across the school and among schools. As such, I began to move into more administrative roles.”
During his time at the school, the student population has grown from 350 to 800 students, they have moved to a new campus and are, just now, graduating their first students. All the while, the school is the first outside of the province of Alberta to use an all-Alberta curriculum, with their students writing the same exams as Alberta students. Stribbell also has two other U of L graduates working with him on staff.
“As an administrator in Alberta, I knew that U of L grads had spent more time in the classroom. This gave them an edge when it came to starting their careers,” he says. “Now that I am in Macao, we recruit from all over the province and I would love to see more U of L grads apply.”
Chu (Mgmt ’91) came to the U of L as an international student, beginning his studies with an English as a Second Language class in the spring of 1989. Over the next two and a half years, he’d complete a management degree and begin his career in Vancouver, B.C. Two years later it was back to Hong Kong where he would begin the development of a number of business pursuits. Today, in partnership with his wife, he runs four companies, two each in compact disc manufacturing and leather finishing and handbag manufacturing.
“Inside the campus I built my personality and beliefs through communication and interactions with classmates and teachers from different cultures and countries,” Chu says of his time at the U of L.
“Academic training of course is important, but the most important is the cultivating environment and encouraging atmosphere the campus offered for me to learn how to express myself, listen to objections, cooperate to solve problems, build my confidence and so on.”
Both alumni appreciated the reception and look forward to further initiatives that will help the University carve out its niche in the Hong Kong area.
“The establishment of an alumni chapter will be essential in enhancing the U of L’s presence in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia,” says Stribbell. “It will also provide us, as alumni, one more vehicle for networking and staying in touch.”