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College of Agricultural Sciences, Ukrainian university renew historic partnership

Posted: May 4, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Twenty years after the signing of the first cooperative agreement between Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine, the institutions have renewed their educational partnership.

Recently, in ceremonies continents apart, Bruce McPheron, dean of the college, and Dmytro Melnychuk, president of the Ukrainian university, signed a new agreement on cooperation for the next five years.

Melnychuk signed the original agreement in 1992, shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. Lamartine Hood, former dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, who signed the original document 20 years ago, was there to witness McPheron ink the new pact.

Also present during the signing were Alex and Helen Woskob, of State College, whose support through the Woskob Endowment has enabled the universities to conduct their partnership.

McPheron is optimistic that the ongoing collaboration between Penn State and the Ukrainian university will continue to help solve agricultural problems and enhance the food and fiber system.

"It's a delight to recognize 20 years of partnership between Penn State and our colleagues in Ukraine with the signing of this document," he said. "As I reflect on 20 years and the connections of many people who have gone before us, I am re-energized to think about the next 20 years and the future of the relationship we might build."

Much has changed in the last 20 years, McPheron noted, and technological advancements have allowed universities that are geographically far apart to work very closely together. Indeed, technology allowed the two signing ceremonies to be shared via YouTube. (Click here and here to watch.)

The partnership between the College of Agricultural Sciences and National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine would not have been so successful without the Woskobs' help, McPheron emphasized.

"Much of what we accomplished in the past 20 years would not have been possible without the contributions of the Woskob family," he said. "I think it only fitting to recognize the tremendous impact that they have had on our ability to build this partnership. They have allowed us to reach out with students, faculty and tangible projects that have brought extension capacity to Ukraine."

According to the agreement, the institutions will continue to collaborate by:

--Exchanging faculty, researchers and scientists.

--Participating in joint seminars and academic meetings.

--Holding cultural exchange activities.

--Participating in joint international training courses, programs and projects.

--Taking advantage of opportunities to conduct joint consultation.

--Providing collaborative education, joint research activities and extension.

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EDITORS: For more information, contact Deanna Behring, director of international programs for the College of Agricultural Sciences, at 814-863-0249 or by email at dmb37@psu.edu.

Jeff Mulhollem
Writer/editor
814-863-2719
jjm29@psu.edu