CSU Stanislaus -- October 8, 2003

International Finance Degree Program Agreement Signed

Dr. Marvalene Hughes, President of California State University, Stanislaus, and René Lasserre, President of Universite de Cergy-Pontoise in France, signed an agreement on October 7 at CSU Stanislaus that moves the two universities closer to the goal of developing a joint international finance master’s program.

Designed for highly motivated students, the one-year program will feature a semester at CSU Stanislaus, another at the Cergy campus on the outskirts of Paris, and a summer internship to provide graduates with practical international experience.

President Hughes paid a visit to Cergy-Pontoise in June to initiate the collaboration. In early August, Dr. Jocelyn Martel, past chair of the Department of Finance at Cergy, visited CSU Stanislaus with Michel Garcin, president of the Franco-American Foundation and a successful entrepreneur and teacher. It was during this visit that representatives from both universities formally agreed to collaborate on academic exchanges.

“This was a very productive visit from our partners at Cergy-Pontoise,” President Hughes said. “I am very pleased that we are able to keep the momentum going for the new program.”

CSU Stanislaus Global Affairs Director Linda Bunney-Sarhad, who is taking an active role in seeing the program to its completion, said that the program will enable students to recognize and take advantage of global patterns that affect business. She added that it will prepare graduates to work comfortably with partners from other business cultures, whether in the U.S. or outside.

A focus group of regional business leaders guided faculty in shaping the program to ensure that students develop the qualities sought by employers.

“Businesses in this area are looking for people who are problem solvers, who can communicate, and who have experience. This program aims to create experienced problem-solvers, ” Matt Swanson, Vice President of Associated Feed and Supply in Turlock, said.

Other participants in the planning process noted that to increase trade opportunities between firms on both sides of the Atlantic, companies must be able to function cross-culturally and know how to conduct business internationally. Participants besides Swanson included Ernie Gemperle, owner of Gemperle Enterprises; Marty Grynbaum, Vice President of Morgan Stanley; Duncan Reno, General Manager of Del Rio Country Club; Kal Sundar, Vice President of E. & J. Gallo Winery; and Tim Walsh, Vice President of Human Resources for Foster Farms.

Besides the opportunity to create long-term professional relationships that span the Atlantic, the program offers a rigorous series of finance courses at both universities. CSU Stanislaus faculty members who huddled with the French representatives to create the academic plan included Dr. Andrew Wagner, Dr. Dan Vellenga, and Dr. Rao Cherukuri of the Department of Accounting and Finance; Dr. Tahi Gnepa of the Department of Management/Operations/Marketing; and Dr. Eungsuk Kim, Dr. Kelvin Jasek-Rysdahl, and Dr. Elaine Petersen of the Department of Economics.

Another participant in the ongoing program preparation process is Dr. William Crist, a recently retired CSU Stanislaus economics professor and former board member and chair of the California Public Employees Retirement System (CALPERS), the world’s largest pension fund.

Media Contact: Don Hansen (209) 667-3997


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