The Hanlon Centre for International Business Studies officially launched
Release Date : February 03, 2011
Article by Devin R. Heroux
Photographs by Larry Kwok
Thursday, February 3rd wasn't an ordinary afternoon at the Edwards School of Business. The official launch of the Hanlon Centre for International Business Studies was celebrated in fine style, complete with a
Hanlon Centre Director
Prominent business leaders and politicians, faculty, and students overflowed into the hallway. Hanlon Centre Director, Nicholas Kokkastamapoulos, normally outspoken, was almost speechless as a result, when he approached the podium. The enormity of the event sunk in - hardly was there a "cannot attend" reply or a "no-show" from his invited guests.
"You can always invite people and hope that they are going to show up and support your endeavours, but this support was overwhelming," said Kokkastamapoulos.
Kokkastamapoulos, in his Emcee role, addressed his audience of how Saskatchewan (though only recently in the news for its international economic success) has always been a major global export player, with services and products found in every corner of the world.
"Yet there is a huge disconnect", he added, "between our province's international business and trade activities, and such awareness by our university students. This Centre should serve as that education and experiential opportunity link between our students and the international world."
An estimated crowd of over 200 people included notables such as Business School Donor Murray Edwards, Honourable
Guest of Honour; Principle donor to the Hanlon Centre for Internation Business Studies
"This is the time, more than ever, for our students to learn the importance of international studies," said the soft-spoken Hanlon. "I'm so impressed with the students I have met so far who have been a part of this. I've already seen a couple presentations and all I can say is, wow."
The Hanlon Centre for International Business will be made up of many elements: academic scholars, business liaisons, and students who seek to develop future business leaders and educate them on international business. As part of that, there will be interactive learning forums, workshops and seminars, local and international internship programs, and sponsorship available for other related activities. Dr. Daphne Taras, Dean of the Edwards School of Business, realizes the potential in this new initiative.
Dean of the Edwards School of Business
"Every student in business needs to be polished. You can know business fundamentals; you can learn things in a classroom, but it doesn't work if you don't get the sophistication. I think this International Centre is a diamond-polishing operation for our students."
And there's no mistaking the eagerness of the students. A throng of Edward School of Business students looked on excitedly; you could see the international opportunities that lay before them dancing in their eyes. Bryan McCrea, a recent graduate of the Edwards School of Business and former "student user" of the Hanlon Centre, just enjoyed a successful deal on CBC's hit show The Dragon's Den. McCrea comes already with considerable first-hand experience and success from involvement in many related international business activities and travels during his school years. Since graduated, he remains one of the Centre's "honorary advisors".
"When you get outside into the global community you realize just how much there is out there and how good we are here in Saskatchewan," smiled McCrea. "An opportunity like this, for our student entrepreneurs, is invaluable."
USSU President Chris Stoicheff, also a university student with considerable international business education and relevant experiential learning experience, echoes McCrea's thoughts. Stoicheff realizes the opportunity (from Hanlon Centre student services and programs) created for the students of the U of S.
"A Centre like this opens so many doors for the students of the U of S and allows for a much more global perspective," said Stoicheff. "From the USSU's perspective, we're going to do everything we can to encourage students to get involved with the Hanlon Centre."
Seizing this momentum, the Hanlon Centre will co-host a Saskatchewan youth international leadership forum for end of March 2011. Such an event can only broaden our province's university and high school students understanding of international business and trade as well as the role Saskatchewan plays globally.
Honourable Don Morgan, Minister of Justice and Attorney General and an official speaker at the Hanlon Centre Launch Event, had these thoughts on behalf of the Government of Saskatchewan.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General for Saskatchewan
"If I could offer you one piece of advice, it would be to think globally. For years the people of Saskatchewan have worked very hard within our own borders; now we are showing the rest of the world what we can do," said Morgan. "Our people work hard, have a spirit of volunteerism, and take risks."
University of Saskatchewan's Vice-President of Finance and Resources
Lorne Calvert, former Premier of Saskatchewan, couldn't find enough good things to say about Ted Hanlon, the U of S, and all those involved in the creation of the Centre.
"In my view we've always been global traders. It's not just about understanding business but also understanding the realities of culture. We've shifted focus from buying and selling to also engaging," said Calvert. "To see the commitment of the Hanlon family, the School, its faculty, its leadership, and this student body, this is very rewarding to see this happening,"
Proponent for the Hanlon Centres creation, meeting with colleagues
And perhaps it was fitting that every attendee to the event was given a Chinese New Year gift, a "Hong Bao" (Red Lucky Envelope), each stuffed two chocolates resembling Canadian loonie coins. At the bottom of the gift was the message, "All one's dreams come true." One gets sense that as Ted Hanlon looked on proudly, his dream finally came to fruition.
"There are three principals I live by that will never change: hard work, natural ability, and good luck. In this fast changing world if you stick to all three of these things you will enjoy a great amount of success."