This is the fifth in a series of postings from Asia, as I and my colleagues visit alumni, parents, and friends in the region. This posting is by Mike Schoenfeld ’73.
The final stop of our week-long Asia trip is in Singapore, and we are greeted by the city’s tropical heat and humidity. Just one degree north of the equator, the tidy city is lush with vegetation overhanging the immaculately maintained streets. Knowing we are headed back the next day to the late fall weather in Vermont, we enjoy the warm welcome.
Middlebury’s presence in Singapore is less developed than in China and Japan. Often a short-term destination for business transactions, it is only recently that Singapore has become home to a growing number of alumni. Regular visits to the strong local schools by our admissions office have yielded an interesting mix of Singaporeans, ex-pats from many countries, and United World College students coming to Middlebury. Now some have returned. We take the time to visit the UWC and make a presentation to an auditorium full of prospective students. With 10 students from this school at Middlebury already, the interest level is high.
Our reception later in the evening shows that our trip here is well worth the effort. As was the case for our gatherings in Tokyo, Beijing, and Hong Kong, we meet a record number of parents and alumni who are delighted to see us. Fred Myers ’67 cashed in some frequent flyer miles and flew up from his farm in Western Australia just to be here. Edi Sentosa, MIPM ’93, made the trip from Indonesia. Young alums, many of whom had not met each other before, worked their iPhones to exchange contact information. The Middlebury network expands.
Our work nearly done, we reflect back on the trip with Rick Scanlon ’93 later that evening over Thai food. Rick’s story is becoming familiar—a Midd undergrad and Language School alum who finds extraordinary business opportunities in Asia and makes a life for his family here. Now he wants to stay connected to his college and is offering his help. All the ingredients for Middlebury’s global future in Asia are here—promising students, extraordinary educational opportunities, language-adept and culturally proficient graduates, parents and alums who want to give back. All we have to do is keep connecting the dots.
—Mike Schoenfeld ’73, senior vice president and senior philanthropic adviser