Centenary University has always welcomed students from faraway lands. One of our first international students was Tsuna Akira Kuchiki, who went by Daniel. Kuchiki, of Tokyo, Japan, was present for the dedication of Centenary Collegiate Institute’s building in 1874 and graduated from the College Preparatory Classical Course in 1877. Since then hundreds of international students have furthered or completed their post-secondary education here.
A series of newspaper articles called “Personality Profiles” were written by the student newspaper, Spilled Ink, to introduce students to the rest of the Centenary community. Students would be interviewed and asked about themselves and what they thought of Centenary. Many of those students were international students. Here are some of their answers:
Elga Hilferding, 1942
“Who doesn’t know our petite and cute little Rumanina girl? She has a lot of interesting things to tell us about her country. Yes, she was born in Rumania…Did I tell you Elga lived in Bucharest? She says it’s very modern, too, and they even get our movies there as soon as we do…Elga says the average American likes an easy life, going to parties, eating, and not working too hard. Doesn’t that sound just like us…Elga likes American schools, too, because we don’t have to wear an awful uniform as Rumanians do…Goodbye to you all for now from Elga. In Rumanian, it would be “La Revedere.”
Dora and Erna Oskardottir, 1943
“Dora and Erna were born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1924 and 1925, respectively…Upon their arrival at Centenary, Dora and Erna felt rather timid, but they soon learned that Centenary had many good friends awaiting them. Though it was only last week they started taking English lessons, they have made great strides in learning our language. Both girls intend to come back to Centenary next fall…Centenary welcomes you, Dora and Erna, and we hope you will enjoy your stay with us, as much as we are enjoying having you.”
Genevieve Diaz, 1943
“In June, 1941, five feet two inches and ninety-six pounds of Genevieve Diaz (plus luggage) came to the United States from her native land, Puerto Rico…Jenny is very fond of American music, but she says she missed the ‘real’ South American rhumba…Reading is one of [her] favorite hobbies along with the music and horse-back riding, but she professes no great liking for ice skating and other winter sports. This is undoubtedly due to Puerto Rico’s milder climate…Genevieve is enjoying her stay at Centenary, but she is also looking forward to attending a larger institution. Centenary offers Genevieve best wishes for her continued success.”
Thorunn Thorsheimson and Josephian Johannessen, 1944
“These girls left their home in Reyhjavik [sic], the capital of Iceland, on July 14th…Prior to their arrival in this country, Jossa and Thorunn had never had occasion to speak English…They certainly are doing well since they came here…Quite by chance it was discovered that both Thorunn and Jossa are greatly interested in our America music, both popular and classical. They never heard much of this music until our American soldiers arrived in Iceland…The girls are rapidly acquiring a taste for our American dishes. The diet in Iceland consists chiefly of meat and potatoes. Fruit and vegetables are available only when a ship from our country carries such to them. Neither Jossa nor Thorunn expect to return home until they have completed their education here at Centenary. Let’s all hope that their college career in the United States is a most successful and happy experience.”
Foreign Exchange Students, 1945
‘ “Martica Urrutia is a vivacious brunette from Cuba. She and Ninita Wood [sic] usually drive us mad at the dinner table by a confusing code they use. It goes something like this – ‘Pancho’. ‘Carl.’ Ninita has been here in school since she was ten years old and quite proudly says, ‘I am an American!’ From Holland we have with us Yvonne Goetz. She had lived in South America – principally Brazil and Venezuela – for the past ten years and is definitely an accomplished linguist, speaking English, Dutch, German, French, Portuguese and Spanish fluently. Personally, I think Yvonne’s heart really lies in Venezuela...And then there is Alyce ‘Sissie’ Robertson from Brooklyn. We are all learning to understand her dialect.” ’
So there are a few of our students from other lands! Let’s hope they enjoyed being at Centenary, as much as we enjoyed having them. Centenary will learn to appreciate lives lived in different parts of the world, especially with the presence of our foreign neighbors.’
*Ninita Wood is spelled Nenita Wood in the 1947 Yearbook.
“Personality Profiles: Elga Hilferding.” Spilled Ink 1942: 12. print.
“Personality Profiles: Icelandic Girls enjoying C.J.C.” Spilled Ink 20 February 1943: 1. print.
“Student from Puerto Rico enjoying stay at C.J.C.” Spilled Ink 15 December 1943: 1. print.
“Icelandic Students.” Spilled Ink 30 September 1944: 2. print.
“Four Foreign Students here.” Spilled Ink 1 November 1945: 3. print.