The inauguration of Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera as Keuka College’s 19th president May 4 was truly an international affair.
Delegates and guests from a number of foreign countries traveled to Keuka Park for the ceremony including Madame Hiam Sakr, president of the American University of Science and Technology (AUST) in Beirut, Lebanon.
“I was honored that Madame Sakr and Dr. Nabeel Haidar, vice president for academic affairs at AUST, joined us for the celebration,” said Díaz-Herrera. “I am particularly pleased to have the pleasure of welcoming Madame president to Keuka Park and the Lucina, where she was the guest of honor at a small, family-oriented reception. In a short time, I have developed a real affinity for her school and Lebanon; quite simply, Beirut is a most enchanting place.”
Earlier this year, Díaz-Herrera and Madame Sakr signed a memorandum of understanding that could lead to collaboration between the two schools.
Keuka College boasts the largest enrollment of any American college or university operating in China, with some 3,000 Chinese students pursuing Keuka degrees at four partner universities. Michael T.C. Hwang, administrative chancellor for China Campuses and an architect of the Keuka China Program, took part in the inauguration as did Joseph Hwang, legal adviser to KCP.
Also making the trip from China was Prof. Dr. Shuxin Xiong, president of Yunnan University of Finance and Economics, one of Keuka’s four partner schools.
Keuka also has partnerships with two universities in Vietnam, with more than 500 Vietnamese students working toward Keuka degrees at Vietnam National University (VNU) in Hanoi and VNU in Ho Chi Minh City. Dr. Nguyen Trong Do, rector of VNU’s International School in Hanoi, took part in the ceremony.
Díaz-Herrera is a native of Barquisimeto, Venezuela, and Venezuela was represented at the inauguration by:
• H.E. Ambassador Jorge Valero, permanent representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United Nations;
• Jesús A. Abreu-Anselmi, the president’s mentor who represented the Universidad Central de Venezuela;
• Exila Rivero (Universidad de Los Andes);
• Alirio Briceño (Universidad de Carabobo); and
• Maria Teresa Alejos-Cordido (Universidad Centro—Occidental Lisandro Alvarado).
“I was also thrilled that my dear classmates from Barquisimeto—Carlos Serra Blasini and Judith Bohorquez—attended the inauguration,” said Díaz-Herrera.
Keuka’s new president received his master’s degree and Ph.D. from Lancaster University in England. Although he did not attend the inauguration, Professor Mark E. Smith, vice chancellor of Lancaster, recorded a video message that was played during the ceremony.
The audience also heard a taped video message from one of the president’s children, son Alexander Díaz. The message was recorded in Japan, where he is studying.