â€œThis agreement marks the beginning of an important new relationship between our two institutions and an expansion of Kent Stateâ€™s international presence,â€ Lefton said. â€œOur partnership with Siauliai University promises expanded opportunities for our students and faculty, as well as exciting new research possibilities in biomedical engineering, energy and clean technology, public health and gender studies.â€
Lauruska, his wife and Dr. Stasys Tumenas of Siauliai Universityâ€™s Department of Lithuanian Linguistics and Communication visited the Kent campus on June 8 and 9. The signing of the new pact and a ceremonial gift exchange took place on June 9 in the Read Special Collections Classroom in the University Library.
â€œIt is a great honor for Siauliai to establish a partnership with Kent State University,â€ Lauruska said. â€œThe cooperation with this top-level organization will provide the possibility for both universities to share experiences in studies, research and cultural issues. I am thoroughly convinced that this will continue with visible results: exchanges of students, academics and personnel, cooperation and development of programs and cultural exchanges.â€
Representatives from both universities began working on the partnership last year. â€œThis new agreement represents a significant step forward in our relationship with this respected institution,â€ said Dr. Timothy Moerland, dean of Kent Stateâ€™s College of Arts and Sciences. I look forward to working with Dr. Lauruska and his distinguished faculty.â€
Kent State has a special connection with the Lithuanian community, as the university library houses one of the largest collections of Lithuanian literature, archival materials and other items related to the Lithuanian Diaspora in the country. â€œIn fact, the Lithuanian collection at Kent State is larger than the Lithuanian archives held at the Western Reserve Historical Society,â€ said Mary Anne Saunders, executive director of Kent Stateâ€™s Office of International Affairs.
Tumenas visited Kent State last fall to review the rare books in the universityâ€™s collection. His writings about the holdings will be published soon and will be shared with the Western Reserve Historical Society and others.
â€œThere is a large and very active Lithuanian community in Northeast Ohio that has been very supportive of Kent State,â€ Saunders said. â€œThere is currently an endowment of $166,000 â€“ the Kent State Lithuanian Fellowship Scholarship Fund â€“ that supports student and faculty scholarship.â€
Last year, the Lithuanian program at Kent State and Dr. Viktoras Stankus, vice president of Lithuanian Community Inc., Cleveland Chapter, celebrated the 30 year anniversary of the Baltic-Kent Connection and highlighted student and faculty accomplishments over this time.
â€œOn behalf of the Lithuanian government, I applaud this historic event: the partnership of universities from two different continents,â€ said Ingrida Bublys, honorary general consul of the Republic of Lithuania in Ohio. â€œIt will truly be a gift to students as well as professors as an insight into the differences and commonalities between these two institutions as the partnership grows and flourishes.â€
Siauliai University, located in the fourth largest city in Lithuania, was established in 1997 as a result of uniting the Siauliai Polytech of Kaunas University of Technology and the Siauliai Pedagogical Institute. Approximately 12,000 students attend the university, which offers bachelorâ€™s, masterâ€™s and doctoral degrees. Siauliai University has more than 130 international and domestic partnerships with other universities. Lauruska has served as rector, the equivalent of president, of the institution since it was founded.
For additional information regarding Siauliai University, visit http://su.lt/en/welcome/about-siauliai-university. For more information on Kent Stateâ€™s Office of International Affairs, visit www.kent.edu/oia or call 330-672-7980.
### Caption for group photo in carousel above: Representatives from the two universities and the Lithuanian community pose for a picture. Pictured are (left to right): Dr. Stasys Tumenas, distinguished faculty member from Siauliai University; Dr. Vidas Lauruska, rector of Siauliai University; Mrs. Regina Lauruskiene, wife of Dr. Lauruska; the Honorable Ingrida Bublys, honorary general consul of the Republic of Lithuania in Ohio; Dr. Viktoras Stankus, vice president of Lithuanian Community Inc., Cleveland Chapter; Sandra Morgan, Kent Stateâ€™s director of outreach programs in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Dr. Timothy Moerland, dean of Kent Stateâ€™s College of Arts and Sciences.