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Commending a compassionate former assistant dean

BY GUEST OPINION | JANUARY 27, 2012 7:20 AM

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We are writing to recognize the contributions that Scott King has made to the University of Iowa.

For the past nine years, Scott has served as an assistant dean and the director of the Office of International Students and Scholars (now International Students and Scholars Services). Recently, his position was eliminated in an organizational restructuring process.

As campus pastors who work with international students, we have been privileged to get to know King very well over the years. We have always found Scott to be dedicated, knowledgeable, compassionate, fair-minded, and effective in his work. For Scott, it was never just a "job." He truly has a heart for cross-cultural education and for international students. He might be found in his spare time, for instance, buying toys for the young children of a student family newly arrived in Iowa from the other side of the globe.

According to a Jan. 19 article in The Daily Iowan, Downing Thomas, the dean of UI International Programs, acknowledged that Scott (along with Janis Perkins) "played a significant role in the expansion of the International Programs" at the UI. We understand that in 2001 there were 2,077 international students at the university, but by the fall of 2011, the number had risen to 3,463.

But it is not just a matter of numbers. Scott could also be courageous in serving the university and in giving international students a chance for an education at Iowa. For example, while some universities declined the invitation out of security concerns, Scott was among those who traveled to war-torn Iraq a couple of years ago to enable Iraqi students to come to the University of Iowa.

There was much more to Scott's work than recruiting. He also worked tirelessly to enable international students to feel welcomed and to be enfolded by the university and by the larger community. He has long served on the Board of the Friends of International Students organization.

We are thankful for the service that King has given to the university, to thousands of international students, to this community, and to his profession. We owe him a debt of gratitude, and we will miss him.

Dr. Edward Laarman is a member of the Association of Campus Ministers and the director of Geneva Campus Ministry.


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