Mount Union Establishes New Relationship to Bring Sri Lankan Students to the College

September 01, 2008

Scott Slabaugh and Prsident Giese with the Dissanaykes from Sri LankaOn July 30 and 31, a visit to the Mount Union College campus by Priyanthi and Padmasena Dissanayke of the Educational Advising Service in Colombo, Sri Lanka helped the College take yet another step in strengthening its relationships with countries in Asia.

The Dissanaykes met with President Richard Giese; Dr. William Coleman, assistant to the president for diversity affairs; Amy Tomko, vice president for enrollment services; Harold Hall, former director of international admissions; Scott Slabaugh, director of international student services and Dawn Adams, assistant director of international student services.

Scholarships for USA is a company founded by Priyanthi with the aid of her husband Padmasena, spurred by their own daughter’s lengthy search for a college or university in the United States that was willing to work with the family to find financial support. Seven years later, more than one hundred Sri Lankan students have enrolled in colleges and universities across the United States because of the Dissanayke’s assistance.

The Dissanaykes work to create relationships with the students and parents and also helps form relationships between parents whose children are in the United States and others whose children are planning on studying there.

“I don’t really see ourselves as recruiters; we’re more like lifetime relationship builders,” said Priyanthi.   The Dissanakyes believe that a liberal arts foundation, relationships with diverse people and experience with advancements in technology will help make their own country a better place to live in. 

According to Dr. Coleman, it was Harold Hall who particularly impressed the Dissanakyes with his heartfelt commitment to the college’s relationships with other countries, even after his time as an employee of the College.

Hall shared with them how the College began actively recruiting international students more than twenty-five years ago in order to develop better cultural understanding and appreciation for both themselves and American students.  “It is my sincere hope that the goal of the College will be to continue welcoming these young people as they have over these many years,” said Hall.

According to Slabaugh, the College hopes to have its first Sri Lankan student enrolled at Mount Union for the spring semester.

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