Reception celebrates graduating international students

Jacob Parker

WKU celebrated the hard work of graduating international students with a reception at the Kentucky Museum Thursday evening.

Of the 972 international students attending WKU who represent more than 30 different countries, 37 of those will graduate this Saturday.

Tori Henninger, assistant international program director, said all international students who graduate are invited to attend the ceremony.

“It really allows us to showcase all the hard work they’ve done,” she said.

President Gary Ransdell told the students they’ve changed the university by bringing their culture into ours, and the other students are better off for it.

“It’s become a part of our culture to embrace your culture,” he said.

Gopi Nutakki, an international alumnus who works for the equal opportunity office on campus, spoke at the event, encouraging the graduates to work hard and to keep in contact with the university.

Echaunti Swan, an international student from Bermuda, said her time at the university has helped her find close friends.

“The best part has been meeting friends and girls I can call my sisters,” she said.

Xiaoxue Xiang, from Beijing, said she chose WKU because her parents thought it was safe and the communication program is great. But Xiang said it wasn’t always easy being far from home.

“The first time I came here I was a week late and it was hard to understand and catch up,” she said. “During that time was when I really missed my home.”

Xiang looks forward to visiting home, but also to becoming a U.S. citizen.

Ransdell said he is excited about expanding WKU’s international reach.

“It’s so imperative we make this globe as small as we possibly can,” he said.