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Saluting International Students at Mississippi College

Mississippi College Global Education Director Mei-Chi Piletz joins two MC international students and their baby. They are pictured at a graduation celebration May 4 at First Baptist Church Clinton.

Mississippi College proved to be a terrific experience for Saleh Alghamdi.

“We had wonderful days here and we learned many things,” said Saleh, a 32-year-old student from Saudi Arabia. “It was amazing. We love MC.”

At a reception, MC leaders expressed their appreciation to 73 international students who later received degrees at the university’s spring commencement May 5-6.

Alghamdi earned his master’s in public relations on the Clinton campus. His wife, Nada, 25, was awarded her degree from the Mississippi College School of Law at graduation day in Jackson May 12.

After several years in Mississippi, the couple returned to Saudi Arabia with their one-month-old baby boy, Majed, and continue their professional careers.

Whether they worked with the staff of the Office of Global Education or learned from outstanding professors, the international students soaked up a first-class education. They made new friends with American students and got to know stellar professors on campus. They shared their culture as well.

“You have given us more than we have given you,” Vice President for Academic Affairs Ron Howard told the international students and family members.

Nearby tables filled with fresh fruit, coffee and delicious cake at the First Baptist Church Clinton reception, Howard asked the new grads to tell friends back home if they had a good experience at Mississippi College.

Spreading the word about an MC education to countries thousands of miles away is a big reason why about 400 international students enroll at the Baptist-affiliated institution.

President Lee Royce, Office of Global Education Director Mei-Chi Piletz joined professors expressing their thanks to the students for their classroom success and enrichment of campus life.

Retiring after more than three decades as an art professor, Steve Cook stopped to say farewell to Maha Alsharif, 27, of Saudi Arabia. She was awarded her master’s degree in art at Graduate School ceremonies. The guest speaker that May 5 evening, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, received an honorary doctorate at the ceremonies at the A.E. Wood Coliseum. He’s a former MC political science instructor.

The creative skills that Maha learned from Cook and other talented professors at the 191-year-old university will enhance her career as an art teacher in Saudi Arabia.

Montu Patel, 27, was awarded a master’s in computer science. The native of India came to Mississippi College because he’s got a cousin who lives in the Clinton area. There is a large community of families from India living in metro Jackson. And that made things a little more comfortable for the MC graduate student many miles from home.

The Magnolia State offered other advantages. “I like the Mississippi hospitality. It was good to work with Mei-Chi Piletz.”

During his one year in the USA, Patel visited New Orleans, Destin, Florida, California and other places. Still, “I miss my family (in India).”