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The University Magazine

Partnership prompts visit by president of Dominican Republic

Bill Destler
During his visit to campus, President Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna of the Dominican Republic (gray suit) toured campus and met with many of the more than 40 Dominican students studying at RIT.

Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna, president of the Dominican Republic, and members of his cabinet met with RIT President Bill Destler in October to discus wide-ranging partnerships between the Dominican Republic and the university, which date to 1996.

“The collaboration with RIT provides opportunities to our students to have high quality education,” Fernández commented at a news conference on campus. “We need to train our people at a high level to fully integrate into the international community.” He believes that the connection with RIT helps the country become more competitive in the world market.

“We at RIT are also very real beneficiaries,” Destler said. “There aren’t any great universities that are not internationally engaged.”

Through an educational partnership, RIT has been providing needs assessment, short-term training, research and consulting support for business and industry, as well as academic programs in the Dominican Republic. There are currently more than 40 students from the Dominican Republic studying in bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. programs at RIT. An additional 50 graduate students are studying RIT programs in networking and systems administration and service management in the Dominican Republic.

To date, more than 250 students from the Dominican Republic have completed RIT degrees in disciplines critical to the economic development of the country.

“RIT offers a unique mix of scholarship and practice, and that combination makes our university ideally suited to work with the Dominican Republic to develop new technologies and new ideas for businesses, products, and services,” says Destler. “When universities, governments, and business leaders work together like this, we can achieve so much more.”

The Dominican delegation included Eddie Martinez, minister of state, and Radhamés Mejía, executive vice rector, Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre Y Maestra (PUCMM), a major university in Santo Domingo, the nation’s capital.

The dignitaries toured Wallace Memorial Library, Kate Gleason College of Engineering, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, and the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies. They also met with Dominican students.

In 1996, RIT joined Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden, N.Y., and PUCMM in Global Connections, an educational partnership program.

“Our three institutions have been collaborating to provide affordable educational opportunities including degree programs, faculty development, and short-term training in a variety of fields,” says James Miller, senior vice president, Enrollment Management and Career Services and point person from the beginning of the initiative.

In 2006, RIT and PUCMM established the International Center for Innovation in Technology and Management. The initiative is designed to support technological infrastructure, human resource development, collaborative research and innovation in the manufacturing and service sectors in the Dominican Republic.