Suffolk University Invests in African Campus

10/25/2001

Suffolk University has answered the Senegalese government's call for establishing an American university on African soil, and 10 newly arrived African students on Suffolk University's Beacon Hill campus prove the venture has been worthwhile.

After completing two years of course work at Suffolk's campus in Dakar, Senegal, the students, most of whom are studying international business, are completing their degrees in Boston. Three of them are refugees from other African countries who were accepted into the Dakar program for their outstanding intellectual and leadership promise.

"The students in this program want to get international exposure," said David Robbins, associate dean at Suffolk and director of the Senegal campus. "The students and the Senegalese government see an opportunity to funnel business and jobs into Senegal and other African countries." Robbins sees Senegal, a nation that has made the transition to democracy, as being ripe for business development with its large, energetic population and welcoming climate.

The Senegalese government invited Suffolk University to offer American-style business education there, and the university responded by opening its Dakar campus two years ago. It is the only American university with a campus in West Africa, and Suffolk's investment has been significant as it built classrooms, a dormitory, a dining hall and a library that serves both the university programs and the English-speaking population of Dakar. Scholarships have been awarded to the first students arriving in Boston, although Robbins looks forward to bringing a significant number of students to U.S. universities without cost to the Dakar campus.

Suffolk initially offered a two-year business administration program in Dakar, with the understanding that students would complete their degrees at universities in America. This year a third academic year has been added to the Dakar program to meet demand and to accommodate students who could not afford to come to America to complete a full two years of study. A fourth year in the BSBA program will be added in the fall of 2002, making the entire BSBA degree program (and the degree itself) available entirely on the Dakar campus.

Suffolk also offers English-language training for business people and for students interested in entering the degree program. It is working to develop a mechanism to attract students from across the United States and Europe to study abroad in Dakar, according to Robbins.

"The success of this program is beyond our wildest expectations," said Suffolk University President David J. Sargent, who has visited the Senegal campus twice. There were 75 students enrolled in the BSBA program last year and 120 students studying the English language. These students hail from 18 countries on five continents - from local business people to ambassadors' children and students studying abroad. "They're smart and motivated, and the Suffolk professors flying to Africa to teach are thrilled to be working with these students," said Sargent.

For more information, please contact Mariellen Norris at 617-573-8450 or Tony Ferullo at 617-573-8448.

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