Distinguished group of international military officers enjoy inaugural visit to Auburn University

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An estimated group of nearly 50 military officers from around 50 countries attended presentations by leaders of Auburn University and toured the campus on Wednesday morning as part of a collaboration between the university and the air base by Maxwell.

The group discovered the university through a panel of speakers including provost Bill Hardgrave; Chief Operating Officer, Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess; College of Architecture, Design and Construction, or CADC, Dean Vini Nathan; and CADC professors Richard Burt and Eric Wetzel. The group consisted of officers from the International Officer School, or IOS, a field study program hosted by Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery as part of a seven-week college prep course.

Wednesday marked the first time the IOS program incorporated Auburn into its itinerary, and officers will take a 10-month course known as Air War College, or AWC, after completing the seven-week prep course. The IOS – which has trained over 11,000 international military students since 1954 – is the preparatory course to prepare all international officers to attend AWC and operates to enable the educational mission of the schools and programs it supports.

Speaking in a conference room in the Mell Class Building adjacent to the Ralph Brown Draughon Library, Hardgrave gave international officers a glimpse into Auburn’s history, including how it became a grant institution of land, information on fundraising, student body, research and the future of higher education. in the USA. He answered several questions ranging from scholarships and tuition to the university’s international student body and was excited about the opportunity to educate the group on Auburn.

“It is such a pleasure for us to welcome these international officers to Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, and we are honored and privileged to be a part of this program,” said Hardgrave. “It gives us the opportunity to talk about higher education in the United States and in doing so, highlight Auburn University.

“Several years ago, we were determined to increase the number of international undergraduate and graduate students and to have a campus that was more and more representative of the world. Events like this are indicators of a global campus.

Burgess, who rose to the rank of lieutenant general during a 38-year career in the U.S. military, praised the group for being selected to participate in the IOS program, stressed the importance of bonding and cultivating relations in the armed forces and described his leadership role at the University.

“You wouldn’t be here if your country and your military did not think that you had exposed and demonstrated the potential to serve at a higher level, then you are here to find out more about us and we can find out more about you,” said Burgess, the former director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency who attended Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1995. “You will build lasting relationships that you can use personally and professionally, and I urge you to take advantage of this. You can’t build that anywhere else, and that’s why this type of seminar and education is so important.

Nathan detailed the wide range of CADC programs, disciplines and educational opportunities for students and spoke about the college’s impact both at home and abroad.

“A detailed review of the College of Architecture, Design and Construction provides clear examples of Auburn’s tripartite mission of teaching, research and service,” Nathan said. “Opportunities like these visits, where institutions share their experiences, are the cornerstones of promoting awareness and appreciation of the mission, as well as mutual understanding and cooperation.

Burt, principal of the McWhorter School of Building Science, described the school’s programs and projects, as well as the history of the faculty in serving the public and the local community.

Wetzel gave the group a quiz with trivia about Auburn before taking a short walk to visit the Jordan-Hare Stadium. From there, the group toured the Robins and Morton Construction Field Lab, where they interacted with various design and construction technologies used by the college and even had the chance to meet “Mac,” the McWhorter’s prized robotic dog. School which is involved in a multitude of field and research projects.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to demonstrate the important and serious outreach efforts at Auburn University,” said Wetzel, who helped organize the group’s itinerary and hosted the IOS on behalf of ‘Auburn. “Between this cohort and the one arriving in July, we will interact with more than 130 military officers from around 80 countries. These officers have been selected by their country to take the program at Maxwell Air Force Base, and we can share Auburn University with them and, in particular, the teaching, research and service taking place at CADC and the McWhorter School of Building Science.

For visitors and organizers of Maxwell Air Force Base, their trip to the Plains was an opportunity for students to experience the atmosphere of an American college and learn about higher education and programs at the CADC while improving their communication skills and exposing them to new technologies that they might not encounter in their home countries.

“We were really excited to meet the team here in Auburn and just been delighted with the support we received to bring our students the experience of visiting the campus,” said Major Tamara Merritt, Chief international programs at Maxwell Air. Base of strength. “This program has traditionally been to Washington, DC or New York, but with COVID things have changed and there have been many opportunities here in Alabama. Being able to listen to the school leadership, understand what higher education is like in the United States, hear about opportunities for citizens and see a bit of college life and even tour the stadium was great for them.

“It was a fantastic opportunity and I know the students appreciated it.

Wednesday’s visit was the first of two such collaborations planned between Auburn and Maxwell Air Force Base, with an even larger group of IOS Field Studies students coming to the campus on July 14.

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