Several dozen members of the Union College community attended the 11th Annual Armand and Donald Feigenbaum Forum Wednesday to discuss “The Global Imperative: Approaches to Internationalizing the Union Experience.”
“This forum could not have come at a better time, given we are in the middle of a strategic planning process,” said President Ainlay, speaking to those gathered at Feigenbaum Hall. “We want to emphasize how important it is in a liberal arts institution today to take seriously the global concept.”
Each year, the Feigenbaum Forum stimulates dialogue about integrating corporate management principles with higher education administration. Brothers Armand V. '42 and Donald S. '46 Feigenbaum are the founders of the General Systems Company, a Pittsfield, Mass., international systems engineering firm that designs and implements integrated management systems for major corporations.
Donald, a world leader in systems management and systems engineering and founding chairman of the systems engineering committee of the American Society for Quality Control, acknowledged the importance of flexibility and change as part of the global perspective.
“One problem a lot of Americans have is thinking that what's good for us is good for everyone else. Nobody in the world is like us,” he said. “The important thing is to recognize this and get as much information and interaction with other cultures as possible. It is an ever-changing world out there.”
Economics Chair Eshi Motahar spoke on Union's success in bringing different cultures to the College through faculty and student exchange programs. For the future, “I'd like to focus on post-term abroad, or reentry programs,” he said, citing the importance of harnessing students' enthusiasm for their travels after they return to campus.
Other speakers at Wednesday's event included Dean of Students Stephen C. Leavitt, who highlighted Union's successful term abroad program in Fiji; Campus Minister Viki J. Brooks-McDonald, who spoke on “The Value of Intercultural Understanding”; Nancy Borowick '07, who talked about teaching in Barbados during a term abroad; and Alessandro Carini '07, a Union exchange student from Colombia who shared his campus experiences.
Armand Feigenbaum gave closing remarks. He is the originator of Total Quality Control, the basic text on quality systems and improvement, first published in 1951 and reissued in a 50th anniversary edition. Most recently, the Feigenbaums co-authored The Power of Management Capital (McGraw-Hill, 2003).
“The Feigenbaums have made an enormous contribution to the world of ideas,” Ainlay said. “It is an honor to Union that we can count them among our own.”