Colorado State University Vice Provost Receives Distinguished Service Award in China

Jim Cooney, vice provost for international affairs at Colorado State University, has accepted the 2013 Confucius Institute Individual Performance Excellence Award.

The award, which recognizes ongoing efforts to develop relationships with China, was presented on Dec. 7 during the opening ceremony of the annual Confucius Institute Conference in Beijing. Cooney, one of 30 international recipients, was presented the award by China’s Vice Premier Liu Yangdong in front of 2,000 people.

“I am truly honored by this award, and I was humbled to accept it in front of such a distinguished group of guests from around the world,” Cooney said. “I am especially pleased that people recognize how internationally focused we are at Colorado State University.”

This is the second major award for CSU’s Office of International Programs in 2013. Last month, Cooney, CSU President Tony Frank and Provost Rick Miranda traveled to Washington, D.C., to accept the Senator Paul A. Simon Award for Campus Internationalization from NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The Simon Award recognized CSU’s ongoing comprehensive campus internationalization efforts in expanding international student enrollment, increasing participation in Education Abroad, opening the Confucius Institute and expanding relationships with international universities.

“Jim Cooney has done an outstanding job helping CSU to internationalize, and we know that China has been a special focus for him,” Miranda said. “This is a well-deserved accomplishment for Jim.”

CSU has relationships with hundreds of partner universities around the world, including dozens in China, many of which are a result of Cooney’s efforts. More than 400 Chinese students are currently enrolled at CSU, and many come from partner universities and high schools.

CSU opened its Confucius Institute on April 12, at 413 S. College Ave. in Fort Collins. One of more than 400 institutes worldwide, and the only one in Colorado on the campus of a four-year university, the Confucius Institute at Colorado State University offers non-credit Chinese language and culture classes and activities to the campus and Northern Colorado community. The institute is also uniquely focused on water and environmental sustainability, a research partnership that will benefit both CSU and China.

Wei Gao, assistant provost for China Initiatives and a professor of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, has also been instrumental in helping CSU establish ties in China. He and Cooney were joined at the conference in Beijing by Confucius Institute associate directors Shelley (Xuemei) Luo and Harry Imbeau.