Gordon Schimmel

It was my good fortune to meet Dwight W. Allen as I was visiting his Peace Corps training site at Stanford University in 1967.  As a staffer in the Peace Corps Washington Office of Training, one of my jobs was checking out innovative training programs and Dwight certainly was an outstanding example of what we needed to improve our programs.


He had just been selected to become Dean of the School of Education at the University of Massachusetts and while it was sad to lose Dwight as a project director at Stanford, his interest in starting a Center for International Education at U/Mass and his invitation to become the first “Planning Doctoral Student” in that effort was too good to be true.


My journey through my graduate program is too circuitous to be of general interest but thanks to a number of trips to Tororo Girls School in Uganda and the wise counsel of Phyllis Ruopp, who was, at the time, Head of the school, I changed my major from international to U.S. public education.  One of my grad school thesis topics was “self-renewal” and it remains the most consistent theme throughout my professional career.  From my work in environmental education, to STEM curricula and workshops for math and science teachers, to work as a superintendent of schools, I have had to re-invent myself in every move, something I learned how to do as a student at the Center.  I am more than happy to bore you with greater detail as well as learn about where you are in this journey and, if you are so inclined, please contact me at wrightflight@gmail.com. I much prefer the telephone to email but electronic contact is a good place to start.


Now, fast forward to 2022, and we are back to being at war with authoritarianism, at home and abroad, something I never could have imagined during my graduate school days at CIE.  How naïve we were to think that, in our lifetimes, we might witness pan-Africa, Asia and America international endeavors blossom into, at a minimum, vibrant federations for economic cooperation and development.  Clearly, we still have much to accomplish to address worldwide income inequality, a prerequisite to achieving peace, hardly something we can hope to export without first addressing our own difficulties at home.  


Although the planet is in what seems like an upside-down world in international relations, it is gratifying to look back at five decades of accomplishment with more than 500 hundred graduates from over 50 countries, dedicated to international education, understanding and economic development. I was privileged to be a part of the Center in 1968 as it was being organized and much of the credit for its success goes to a dedicated staff, talented students and to David Evans for his persistent leadership as well as his enduring optimism.


I am grateful for the education and experience that the Center, the faculty and fellow students provided for me during those early years - some of which were actually quite fun! Merci, mille fois, to Dwight Allen, David Schimmel (blessed be their memories), and all others, past and present, who still labor at the Center to make the world a better place.  


Although I am now retired, I continue to advocate for a world-view that reaches beyond nationalism, doing what I can to promote acceptance of human diversity and acknowledgement of our global interdependence - imperatives if we are to preserve life as we know it on this planet.  Whatever it takes to keep the dream alive. [5-22]


Email: wrightflight@gmail.com


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CIE Graduate