Global Presence

Associate dean and professor in Kent State's College of Public Health, Jeffrey Hallam, Ph.D., is teaching his Global Health class this week at Kent State’s American Academy (AA) at the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (PUCPR) in Curitiba, Brazil.

The American Academy  is a dual-enrollment program offered jointly by Kent State University and PUCPR. Classes in Brazil are staffed with Kent State faculty by a process in which the American Academy program works with the academic units at Kent State to review the class schedule and determine which instructors are available. 

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This signpost is located on the campus of the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (PUCPR), located in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil. PUCPR and Kent State are connected by The American Academy (AA), a dual-enrollment program offered jointly through a partnership between the universities. The program allows students in Brazil to complete the first two years of their studies at PUCPR and then gives them the option of coming to the United States to finish their degree programs at Kent State. 

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Kent State University will be equipped to offer more financial assistance to students in need thanks to donors to a key area of the university’s ongoing comprehensive fundraising campaign.

The Forever Brighter campaign includes a scholarship-support component, Prioritizing Student Success, that now stands at $142 million, surpassing the $100 million goal set at the campaign’s outset in October 2021. The overall campaign goal is $350 million. The other two priority areas, Expanding University Initiatives and Building the Future, include projects, programs and initiatives to enhance student experiences and elevate Kent State’s reputation as a leader in student support, athletics, and research and innovation – both nationally and internationally.

“This campaign was the most ambitious and aggressive ever undertaken by the university, but that lofty goal was set with the intention of meeting current needs and setting a strong foundation for the future of Kent State,” said Lawrence R. Armstrong, ’79, ’80, campaign co-chair. “The tremendous generosity toward scholarships has shown us that this community believes in our students, and we look forward to continuing to raise funds to support as many students as possible.”

Prioritizing Student Success remains the most important campaign priority to achieve the university’s goal of enhancing access, experiences and degree completion for students.

Student success is impacted by every aspect of the collegiate experience, and the university is dedicated to providing transformational opportunities that enrich the education of all students, such as studying abroad. Global education is an area of distinction for Kent State, as it is the sole university in the U.S. to receive the prestigious 2022 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization from NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The honor recognizes Kent State for overall excellence in integrating international education throughout all facets of the university and its campuses.

“The Simon Award is a richly deserved honor that highlights our excellent education-abroad programs and our ongoing success in enrolling and graduating international students,” said Kent State President Todd Diacon. “A global education expands academic, professional and personal horizons and leads to greater employment opportunities – and it is imperative that every Kent State student accesses a global education.”

Education abroad offers more students a chance to learn beyond the walls of traditional classrooms and broaden their perspectives. The recently created Global Education Endowment, established with a lead gift from Valoree Vargo, Kent State’s vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement, aims to provide every incoming undergraduate student with financial support to engage in an education-abroad experience.

“An opportunity to study abroad is an experience like nothing else,” Vargo said. “Students are learning 24/7 when they’re immersed in a new culture – both in and out of the classroom. The global education that Kent State offers our students is the best in the country, and I believe that access to that experience should be open to as many students as possible. To be able to support the Global Education Endowment personally and professionally is deeply meaningful to me.”

Reaching an initial goal of $20 million would provide a scholarship of approximately $1,000 per student for the number of Kent State students who currently study abroad (about 25%). However, the ultimate goal of the endowment is offering an education-abroad scholarship to every student. This will differentiate Kent State among public higher education institutions, attracting more students to the university and enriching their experiences. With the collective support of donors, undergraduate students from every major and every college at any Kent State campus will be eligible to receive a scholarship from this fund once during their undergraduate career.

“At Kent State, we believe that exploring new places is vital to a greater understanding of the world around us,” said Marcello Fantoni, Ph.D., vice president for global education at Kent State. “We know that an international experience is one of the most direct and effective ways to change the life of a student for the better.”

“Studying abroad in Florence as an undergrad was a very interesting experience for me because I had never left the United States before,” said Andy Wyatt, ’16. “Like a lot of the students who come to this program, I had no experience traveling. This was my first time truly coming out of the country. I didn’t have a passport before I went. I described the experience as being like breathing air for the first time, and the program was so well run that it was very easy for me to get into the culture of Florence and take away as much as I could.”

Kent State’s Global Education Endowment will provide unprecedented access to global education, allowing students to dream bigger and gain a new worldview. Studying abroad is the chance of a lifetime and, with this endowment, one that no Kent State student will have to miss. More information is available at

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Photo Caption:
Kent State University students studying at Kent State’s Florence Center in Florence, Italy, tour the city.

Media Contact:
Leigh Greenfelder,, 330-672-7108

Kent State University offers over 200 programs in over 60 countries through the Office of Global Education. Study away and abroad are opportunities available to all Kent State students to expand their cultural views while working toward their degree.

Kent State’s annual I HEART Travel Week started on Feb. 13, 2023, to educate students on the many programs and opportunities offered. One major highlight was the Education Abroad Expo in the DI Hub second floor lobby on Feb. 14, 2023. The Valentine’s Day-themed expo made it easy for students to discover, explore and fall in love with the many study abroad options available through Kent State.

I HEART Travel Week Booths

The busy lobby had 15 booths lined up against the walls so students were able to filter in and out to learn more about the many programs offered.

The first 50 students at the event were able to pick up a paper suitcase containing international candy and a golden ticket for a free T-shirt, hat, education abroad application fee waiver and other education abroad-themed items. 

One of the booths included Student Accessibility Services to educate students on how their accommodations would transfer over during their trip abroad. Student financial aid was also represented, to demonstrate to students how their aid could transfer over during the summer or fall 2023 session of education abroad.

I HEART Travel Week Expo TableProgram-specific booths included the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Architecture and Environmental Design; the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship; the College of Education, Health and Human Services; and the College of Nursing. Each booth showed students how their unique degree requirements can be maintained even while studying away.

“I think it's important to grow multicultural awareness and competence for the professional world,” Federica Gardner, special assistant for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, said. “Studying abroad is a great way to discover not only who you are, but how others are different from us.” 

Each booth offered a plethora of pamphlets detailing program requirements and options. The booths were lined with decorations and candies, and representatives were available to answer any questions. 

Also located in the DI Hub during I HEART Travel week was the “Immersive Exhibit” located in the Blank Lab. The exhibit continuously ran the whole week to give students ample time to make a visit. The experience allowed students to be transported to multiple different countries as they were able to hear and see what it would be like if they were to study abroad. 

“I was born and raised in Italy before coming to Kent State for my master's degree in education,” Gardner said. “I have learned so much about myself studying here, so that’s why I hope other students take the opportunity to learn more about education abroad since it is such a wonderful experience.” 

For more information about education abroad, please visit

Please visit Choose Your Destination for Studying Abroad During “I Heart Travel Week” for more information about what happened during the exciting week.

Today is the last day to experience this wraparound display of study abroad images in the Blank Lab inside the DI Hub on the Kent Campus.

This weeklong exhibit was part of a full week of events and activities from the university's annual I Heart Travel Week, sponsored by Kent State's Office of Global Education.

This display will be viewed by 250 newly admitted students who are touring campus today on the first of six Future Flash Days.  These students come to Kent State from high schools in Ohio, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin and more. 

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The American Academy (AA) is a dual-enrollment program offered jointly by Kent State University and the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (PUCPR), located in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil.

Curitiba is pronounced “Kr-uh-CHEE-buh” and PUCPR is called “Pookie-Purr” or just “Pookie,” for short.

February 13-17 is I Heart Travel Week at Kent State, celebrating Kent State's Education Abroad Program with fun and informative activities each day.  View the event schedule here.

Want to see one of YOUR photos in “IN A FLASH?” Submit your Kent State-related photos to and you may see them in a future Kent State Today post. Photos should be framed -horizontally- and  include a brief description of what’s happening in the photo along with when and where it was taken.

Scheduled on the week of Valentine’s Day each year, “I Heart Travel Week,” from Kent State’s Office of Global Education (OGE) has become a university tradition. The week celebrates Kent State students who have studied abroad or are currently studying abroad and offers informative events for students who are interested in international study.

About 1,500 Kent State students study abroad each year.

More than 20 events and activities scheduled for the week include the Education Abroad Expo; information sessions about studying in Florence, Spain and Ghana; an Education Abroad “Love is Blind” trivia game; several study abroad-focused financial aid events; a week-long immersive exhibit in the DI Hub’s Blank_Lab; a pizza party; an Instagram photo contest; and even an exploration of how Star Wars’ “The Mandalorian” can teach lessons of intercultural competency. You can view the full event schedule here.