Our welcoming culture

Friday, November 17, 2023

Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,

Happy Friday!

As my son prepares for college, my wife and I try to do all the due diligence we must for him to transition to college, from home to away from home. Come to think of it, like many parents, we have been trying to prepare him for college and beyond, well, since before he was born. I think of the challenges of finding daycare in the early years, allthe parent-teacher conferences, the soccer and baseball games, all the emotional “investments,” the excitements of his successes and agonies of failures, not to mention the monetary cost. For nearly 18 years the three of us made things happen, watched things happen and, from time to time, wondered what happened!

As a parent and chancellor, I view every one of our students at S&T as the focal point of years of parental support assisted by the efforts of a vast, integrated network of family, friends, teachers, coaches, advisors and guiding counselors. After years of guidance, support and emotional investments, parents send their students to the university for us to further educate, nurture and guide them into becoming productive members of society.

Fortunately, a great majority of our students can and do return home on a regular basis and remain connected with their families. Our international students, however, are far from home, and returning home is not normally an option for them. I think of my own experiences as an international student years ago. During my undergraduate years in the ‘70s, even international phone calls were costly and virtually prohibitive, let alone international travel. Imagine the investments and sacrifices that parents and families of our international students have made to prepare them for college and then, at once, they are gone. They will not be home again for years in many cases.

Today, November 17, is International Students' Day, and I want to pause and thank all of our international students and their parents, families and friends who have entrusted them to the university. We appreciate your presence and your contributions to American society, today and in the future. Our nearly 1,000 international students here at S&T represent 70 countries. But more importantly, they represent hope, growth and gratitude, both on campus and in our broader societies. In fact, some of our most successful and supportive alumni today are our international students of yesteryears who came to America, persevered, learned the rules, played accordingly and became great contributors to society.

As early as 1879, our university and the entire community of Rolla welcomed and supported our international students. One of our earliest international graduates, Hector Boza, earned his B.S. in mining engineering from this institution in 1911. He later became involved in his homeland of Peru as an engineer and public servant, senator, president of the senate, and first vice president of Peru.

Dr. Farouk El-Baz, a native of Egypt, earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in geology from our university in the early 1960s and later joined NASA’s Apollo space program. Dr. El-Baz used his remote-sensing expertise to help NASA determine the site of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Mariana Rodriguez, a native of Peru, earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from S&T in 1980, returned to her homeland, and helped establish two universities and two technical institutes.

Bipin Doshi came to S&T from India and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering. Following a successful career, he and his wife, Linda, supported his alma mater by endowing the Doshi Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering.

To celebrate our university’s diverse, inclusive and welcoming culture, every spring our International Students Club hosts its own celebration and highlights our helpful resources in support of our international students, faculty and staff. In addition, every September, the entire community and people from throughout Missouri visit Rolla for our Celebration of Nations festival.

Finally, on this International Students’ Day, to all our international students, I say thank you for your presence, participation and perseverance. As an international student myself, I think I speak for all of us when I say thank you to our community of Rolla, our state and country for the supportive and welcoming culture. We are all very grateful.



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Mohammad Dehghani, PhD
mo@mst.edu | 573-341-4116

206 Parker Hall, 300 West 13th Street, Rolla, MO 65409-0910