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International Center Named in Honor of Hutchins

The dedication of the Francis and Louise Hutchins Center for International Education was held earlier this month, with a dinner honoring the legacy of Mr. and Mrs. Hutchins. Dr. Cahill, director of the international center and President Shinn led the night’s dedication by sharing the rich history of the Hutchinses’ international travel and their impact on Berea’s legacy.

The night’s dedication was made possible through a donation by David and Betty Jones. The Jones family felt it appropriate to have the center named after the Hutchinses due in part to their contributions to the school and the surrounding community. "I thought it was honorable of the Joneses to give back to the community of Berea College," said Olatunde Oluyitan.

Performances by Berea’s Middle Eastern Dancers and Berea’s African-Latin Drum Ensemble gave the audience a taste of Berea’s ethnically diverse programs. Chomba Chocho, an international student from Zambia, discussed his experiences of joining the Berea community as a student. “I found Berea to be a school that opened up opportunities and expanded my world views,” said Chocho. Since coming to Berea, Chocho has been given the opportunity to share his culture with others through programs and classes designed to educate Berea’s students on world issues and cultures. Chocho credits Berea College for his diverse knowledge of other cultures and of America.

Krista Bowker, a former recipient of the Francis S. Hutchins award for her musical piece entitled “Dances of the Ducks,” thanked the International Center for allowing her to travel to Papua, New Guinea. There she embarked on her quest to further expand her knowledge of ethnomusicology by immersing herself in the indigenous culture of New Guinea’s tribal people.

The Hutchinses' children were also in attendance for the night's dedication to share stories of their parents and their impact on the community. Francis Hutchins succeeded his father, William, as Berea's fifth president on November 25, 1939, and served until 1967. Prior to becoming Berea’s President, Mr. Hutchins worked in central China. While in China, he met his wife who was working in a clinic located in the central portion of the country. Back in the States, Mrs. Hutchins worked to setup clinics that would serve the Appalachia’s people. She is credited for also saving the life of Berea’s current mayor, who suffered from a lack of oxygen at birth.

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