Saint Augustine's University celebrated the dedication of its Confucius Classroom on campus Thursday, Aug. 25. The Confucius Classroom at Saint Augustine's University is the first of its kind at a Historically Black University or University. It is one of three Confucius Classrooms under North Carolina State University's Confucius Institute. The other classrooms are at Central Carolina Community University in Sanford and Enloe High School in Raleigh. The Confucius Classroom will offer classes in Chinese language and culture for the campus community and the community at large.
"The establishment of a Confucius Classroom at Saint Augustine's University is in line with our institutional mission of preparing students to be competitive in an increasingly globalized society," said President Dianne Boardley Suber.
The Confucius Institute's mission is to promote intercultural understanding between the U.S. and China, said Dr. Bailian Li, director of N.C. State's Confucius Institute. Programs like the Confucius Institute support President Barack Obama's initiative to send 100,000 U.S. students to China to study.
Saint Augustine's University's Confucius Classroom is the culmination of a partnership between Saint Augustine's University and N.C. State that began in 2009, which is when Saint Augustine's University students began traveling to China along with N.C. State students to study at the Nanjing Normal University. Leaders at both schools said they are excited to be able to offer the same instruction to people locally.
"This is an opportunity to bring China here to Raleigh — bringing the global to the local," said Anna Lamm, deputy director for the Confucius Institute at N.C. State.
Saint Augustine's University’s Community Development Corporation (CDC) is helping local residents get on track to buy their first home through its Homeownership Institute. The CDC works with community partners to offers classes such as financial literacy, credit repair and debt counseling.
“A lot of people have credit issues, but many of us don’t realize that the problems are not that major, and there are people out there who can help clean it up,” said Brenda Williamson, CDC program coordinator. “It might take three to six months to clean it up or it might take two to four years. If you don’t start, you’ll never finish.”
The goal of the Homeownership Institute is for participants to finish mortgage ready. But even if they aren’t ready to buy a home at the end of the 12-week course, Williamson said they will at least be closer to buying a home than they ever were before.
“This is a chance to change their future,” Williamson said.
Those who participate may also be eligible for the city of Raleigh’s mortgage assistance.
The institute is free. The next information session is at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 30, at the CDC office, 311 N. Tarboro Road. For more information, call 516-4754.
Saint Augustine's University will host an art exhibit for the internationally acclaimed artist and illustrator, Synthia SAINT JAMES, Oct. 21. The alliance between SAINT JAMES and Saint Augustine's University formed after SAINT JAMES and President Dianne Boardley Suber met on the 2009 Fantastic Voyage cruise hosted by Tom Joyner.
“I had recently decided that I wanted to establish a scholarship fund for young ladies that wanted to pursue the visual arts. Dr. Suber immediately offered Saint Augustine's University, and I most definitely answered yes,” SAINT JAMES said.
In the years following the cruise, SAINT JAMES remained diligent in establishing a scholarship at Saint Augustine's University. The first Synthia SAINT JAMES scholarship award will be presented in the fall of 2012 in accordance with the grand opening of the Synthia SAINT JAMES Fine Arts Institute of Saint Augustine's University.
SAINT JAMES said she knew early on that she wanted to be an artist. “I have known since I was 5 years old that I wanted to be an artist. I started speaking it at 6 years old and confirmed it by the time I was 13 years old,” she said.
St. Aug will host an exclusive Synthia SAINT JAMES pre-exhibit for faculty and staff Aug. 29. Both art exhibits will be in Seby Jones Art Gallery on the campus of Saint Augustine's University. For more information, contact Vince Chandler at
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