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Tuesday, May 11, 1999

Foreign officials introduced to private American college life at ACU

By LORETTA FULTON

Senior Staff Writer

If he could fit it on a plane, Anatoly Voichak would take a little bit of West Texas friendliness and part of the Abilene Christian University campus with him when he returns home to Kiev, Ukraine.

Voichak was one of two visitors from the International University visiting ACU Monday. After a tour, Voichak could almost close his eyes and see the ACU campus transported to Kiev.

“It’s my dream,” Voichak said.

Voichak is vice president of the International University, with a main campus in Vienna and a branch in Kiev. He was accompanied on his tour of ACU by Dr. Wil C. Goodheer, president of the International University and head of the Vienna campus.

The university, which was established in Vienna in 1979, is affiliated with the Church of Christ. Goodheer taught at ACU from 1891-87. The Kiev branch opened in 1992.

Although Goodheer frequently returns to ACU, Monday’s trip was a first for Voichak.

“I’m specifically introducing him to the private American Christian university,” Goodheer said.

Voichak was particularly impressed with the atmosphere of the campus, but he also wouldn’t mind taking home some of the facilities as well, like a swimming pool and dormitories.

In Kiev, the International University rents space from the Kiev National Economic University and is limited to enrolling only 100 freshmen a year because of space limitations. Up to 900 people apply for admittance to the Kiev school each year.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have enough space,” Voichak said.

David Fry, foreground, visits with, from left, Anatoly Voichak, Ted Presley, and Wil Goodheer during a tour Monday of Abilene Christian University.Photo by Barton Cromeens/ Reporter-News

Currently, 400 students are enrolled at the International University in Kiev and 325 in Vienna. Since its beginning in 1979, the Vienna campus has been home to students from 90 nations. Many of them are the children of diplomats stationed in Vienna, including the Iraqi ambassador’s daughter and the son and daughter of the Palestinian ambassador.

The school has a mixture of religions, including 33 percent Muslim and 39 percent Christian. Students of all religions are required to take four Bible courses and attend daily chapel, which no one seems to mind.

“It’s a time when we can have good communication,” Voichak said.

Both campuses of the International University focus on business degrees, although the Vienna campus also offers a master’s degree in diplomatic and strategic studies. Many of the students in Kiev are local people who graduated from American high schools as foreign exchange students.

Goodheer said students attend both campuses for several reasons, including the university’s high ethical standards, the American academic approach, western business emphasis, and the use of English, which is used almost extensively in the international business and computer world.

“Today English is a major world language,” Goodheer said.

While in Abilene, Voichak and Goodheer will meet with administrators and faculty at ACU in preparation for a possible exchange of professors and students in the future.

Loretta Fulton can be reached at 676-6778 or fultonl@abinews.com

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