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HICKORY — Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Board of Trustees recently approved an action to establish the William and Robert Shuford Center for International Education, after receiving a $5,279,551 gift from the estate plans of William H. Shuford and Robert R. Shuford.

The gift is the second largest in university history, and will provide funding through an endowment in support of the new Shuford Center’s operations, including a substantial expansion of funding support for students with financial need seeking to study abroad through LR’s international programs. The fund may also be used to establish additional international institutional collaborations to provide students and faculty more options for travel.

“On behalf of the entire university I would like to thank the Shufords for this incredibly generous gift that will enable our students with opportunities to engage other cultures and expand their global knowledge,” said LRU President Fred Whitt. “The William and Robert Shuford Center for International Education, which will support expansion of international education initiatives and programs, will provide an incredibly valuable resource to the Lenoir-Rhyne campus. The Shufords’ gift will also enable students in good academic standing and faculty members in any of Lenoir-Rhyne’s five colleges to participate in a study abroad program. These efforts ultimately continue to drive our university’s mission which is centered around development of the whole person.”

William Shuford served on the LR faculty from 1969 to 1999 as a professor of Spanish and modern languages. He retired as professor emeritus but remained in his role as faculty marshall and mace bearer for approximately another decade. Shuford received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from LR, his Master of Arts Degree from the University of Florida, and his doctorate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. Additionally, he studied at the University of Madrid in Spain and the National University of Mexico.

Willliam Shuford’s brother, Robert Shuford, also attended LR, receiving a bachelor’s degree in social studies and Spanish. He taught in public school systems in Hartsville, S.C., as well as Mecklenburg County and Catawba County. Shuford was a veteran of the United States Army, and was a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

According to Laura Dobson, director of the Office of International Education, the Shufords’ gift will enable the university to continue expanding upon travel abroad opportunities which have seen growth in recent years.

“Over the past few years, Lenoir-Rhyne has seen significant expansion in participation in study abroad,” Dobson said. “We have added new exchange partners and sent over 200 students and faculty abroad to destinations on six continents. The William and Robert Shuford Endowment will enable us to vastly expand these already growing opportunities for LR students to pursue affordable education abroad. It also promotes intercultural engagement between international and U.S. students on campus and in the Hickory community.”

LR’s Office of International Education (OIE) assists students in their study abroad endeavors through LR’s exchange programs. The OIE offers information on summer study programs, internships, and international service opportunities. LR also offers a Study Away program, allowing LR students to study away from campus at another location in the United States.

The William and Robert Shuford Center for International Education will be housed in the Lohr Learning Commons along with the Office of International Education, located on the second floor of the Carl A. Rudisill Library.


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