Hastings College opens Russian learning center

Hastings College opened a Pushkin Institute for Russian Language and Culture in McCormick Hall on Tuesday, November 14. The Pushkin Institute is part of a global brand of international academic learning centers sponsored by the Russian Ministry of Education and overseen by partners at Moscow State University and Pyatigorsk State University.pushkin

Hastings College’s Pushkin Institute is the first American center connected with Pyatigorsk State University. The two colleges have been partner institutions since 1997.

“This is a rebirth of a 20-year partnerships between Pyatigorsk State University and Hastings College. In many ways, it’s reimagining the possibilities for partnership and exchange,” said Dr. Travis Feezell, President of Hastings College.

The Pushkin Center looks to build on the partnership, and Feezell is working with Alexander Gorbunov, rector of Pyatigorsk State University, to structure an exchange program between the schools.

“The idea is that if students are interested in Russian language, they will be able to make the first steps in it here at the Pushkin Institute,” Gorbunov said. “Then maybe that will stimulate intere to come to Pyatigorsk in Russia to take part in student exchanges.”

Dr. Rob Babcock, professor of history at Hastings College, will direct the center and oversee most of its programming. That programming, like invited visiting speakers, international food samplings, film showings and scheduled conversations between students at Hastings College and Pyatigorsk State University, will emphasize the cultural aspects of Russia. These events will be open to all students.

“The reality is that the world influences us all the time, even in small towns in the United States. A proper education and a responsible education has to open that reality up for students, and I believe the Pushkin Institute will do that, even for students who do not take Russian language courses,” Babcock said.

The Hastings College Pushkin Institute is located in room 110 of McCormick Hall. The former classroom was repurposed and redecorated by student volunteers earlier this year.

Hastings College is a private, four-year institution located in Hastings, Nebraska, that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. With 64 majors and 15 pre-professional programs, Hastings College has been named among “Great Schools, Great Prices” by U.S. News & World Report and a “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review. For more, go to hastings.edu.

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