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Lebanon Valley President Dr. Lewis Thayne Visits China to Discuss Liberal Arts Education
03.20.14 |
Dr. Lewis E. Thayne, president of Lebanon Valley College, is spending some time in China talking with high school students and their parents about the value of the College’s liberal arts education. LVC's rich tradition of international student recruitment dates back to its first class in 1866. The College, under President Thayne's leadership, hopes to eventually recruit students at levels exceeding the more than 100 international students from 45 countries who called LVC home during the 1990s.

Dr. Thayne’s 11-day trip includes stops at several high schools, academic centers, and with journalists in Tianjin and Beijing. His host, Charles Zhao, is the founder of Bright Vision Education Company, an organization that works with families to provide Chinese students with preparation for international study. Zhao was part of the cohort of 54 Chinese students and teachers who toured Lebanon Valley College in January.

The Tianjin Daily News publicized Dr. Thayne’s visit under the headline, "The Importance of a Liberal Arts Education in America." Dr. Thayne wrote on this topic from Tianjin: “I had not fully realized the number of assumptions that are essential to the education we offer at LVC: the primacy of the individual, the education of the whole person, the radical idea of collaboration with a faculty member, the idea of lateral learning—that students learn from one another—and that a residential setting can be a space for learning as well as living.”

Dr. Thayne delivered his speech at the Tianjin Daily News in segments. After each segment, Zhao would interpret and explain what Dr. Thayne was communicating. “I was very encouraged by the discussion afterwards and the seriousness with which families approach education and in particular international education,” Dr. Thayne said.

Zhao and Dr. Thayne’s tour of Tianjin included the following destinations:

  • Yaohua High School, the top-rated high school in this city and the alma mater of two of China's premiers. The school was founded in 1927 and is the oldest high school in Tianjin. 
  • Tianjin High School #13, which has the largest campus in the city. There are 330 teachers in the school and about 3,000 students. 
  • TYCC! Tianjin Youth Culture Center, a place where students come for training in cultural arts and physical culture. The Culture Center includes entire floors devoted to studios for various dance forms, art studios in every medium, areas where early reading lessons take place, and badminton gyms in full operation. There are music studios, swimming pools, and every sort of cultural pursuit.

From Tianjin, Dr. Thayne and Zhao traveled to Beijing by train. There, he visited these destinations:

  • Beijing Limai Foreign Language School, a 400-student private school where Dr. Thayne met with a class of high school students and spoke with them about Lebanon Valley College. The school’s director, Ke Liu, also visited LVC in January.
  • Bright Vision Education Company, where Dr. Thayne conducted a seminar with students and their parents.

Lebanon Valley College is preparing in earnest for the arrival of international students on campus this fall. The new Student Learning Commons, currently under construction in the lower level of Mund College Center, includes the Centers for Global Education and Career Development, which will house the Career Services, Study Abroad, and International Student Services Offices. Learn more about that project at

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