IN A FLASH: Blue and Gold to Beat the Cold!

Rwandan students at Bob Christy's home

A Kent State staffer's aunt helped students from Rwanda feel welcomed and warm in their first winter in Ohio.

A group of students from Rwanda's National Police College came to study at Kent State University this fall. Over the summer, they had met Bob Christy, senior photography coordinator for the Division of University Communications and Marketing, when he visited Rwanda as part of a university team attending a global peace conference.

When the students came to Ohio, Christy and his wife Mindy welcomed them into their home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Mindy Christy told her aunt, Mala Payton about these visiting students and how it would be their very first time experiencing winter – and snow – in northeast Ohio. So Payton, who is a resident of Country Club Retirement Campus in Dover, Ohio, mobilized her knitting group to create hats and scarves – in blue and gold – to help these students weather the cold.

International students displaying their countries' flags
Rwandan students at the "International Night" Golden Flash men's basketball game. 

Pacifique Niyonzima works as Kent State's program manager for sub-Saharan Africa in the Kent State Center in Rwanda and Africa. He knows these students personally and was key in helping them travel to Ohio for graduate studies at Kent State. When he heard about this act of kindness and saw these photos, Niyonzima said, "Yes, what an amazing story! You have no idea how your warm hospitality made them feel. This is why the Rwandan National Police College wants to send more students to Kent State. I will share this story with the leadership at the college."

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.

POSTED: Thursday, February 29, 2024 10:21 AM
Updated: Thursday, February 29, 2024 12:13 PM
Phil B. Soencksen
Bob Christy, senior photography coordinator, University Communications and Marketing