Fairfield University receives Nintur Foundation grant to teach Chinese language


Fairfield University has introduced a formal Chinese language program made possible by a grant of $100,000 from Nintur Charitable Foundation, based in Gibraltar. The grant will enable the University to broaden its curriculum in Asian Studies and reflects Fairfield's increasing concentration on international studies. There are now 120 students majoring in International Studies, making it the eighth largest major.

Dr. Robert Wall, academic vice president, noted that the Chinese language program will be important to students who intend to pursue a career in international studies and finance. He said, "Clearly, the Chinese language will grow in importance for those American students engaged in international business and activities. We also intend to link an understanding of Chinese culture to the study of the language." He thanked the Nintur Foundation for making it possible to help Fairfield achieve the goal of educating American college students about Asian culture.

The basic Chinese class will begin with 10 students and an intermediate course will be added next year. Dr. Wall announced that the instructor of the class is Dr. Xiaobin Yang, who has been a post-doctoral teaching fellow at Yale University in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures. He also taught previously at the University of Colorado and at the Institute of Literature at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

He received his bachelor of arts degree from Fudan University in Shanghai, a master of arts in Oriental Languages and Literatures from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D in East Asian Languages and Literatures from Yale.

The director for Asian Studies is Dr. Eugene Murphy, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology, who is fluent in Mandarin, and has a specialty in village life in China. His dissertation was entitled "Willow Pond Village: Family, Marriage and Social Stratification in a Yangzi Delta Farming Community."

Through the facilities of the University's Culpeper Language Resource Center, state-of-the-art technology add software will assist the class in learning the Chinese language.

The Nintur Foundation was founded in 1994 by among others, the Chan Family. The Foundation has served philanthropic goals, one of which is the advancement of education throughout the world.

In addition to Chinese, the University will add a new beginner's course this September in Hebrew, bringing to 10 the offerings in languages. Russian was added to the curriculum three years ago and has 25 students while Japanese, begun about 10 years ago, has 23 students.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 1, 1997