France Semester bids Southern adieu

The Eiffel Tower in the Oval was created by Don Shultz and his students at the beginning of the France Semester

The Eiffel Tower in the Oval was created by Don Shultz and his students at the beginning of the France Semester

Parker Willis

After posting a record number of events for the France Semester, its no wonder Missouri Southern officials consider it a success.

Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute of International Studies, said this was the most successful themed semester yet.

“Number one, we had more events than ever, with 63 events,” he said. “Then, number two, the attendance seemed stronger than in the past years.”

The most common reason attributed to its success has been that the public and the campus community seemed to be interested in France.

“With some of the countries that have been selected before, let’s say Japan or India, there may have not been widespread interest across the board,” Stebbins said. “With France, I think there is that general interest in all things French.”

France is, in fact, the most visited country in the world. It is even more visited than the United States.

“There is just something about France and the French culture that intrigues people,” Stebbins said. “I think the selection of France itself had a lot to do with (the big turnouts).”

Even at it’s lowest point, the France Semester events still seemed to come through as successful.

“I suppose the one hitch in the France Semester was the cancellation of the Sept. 19 concert by No Jazz at the last minute,” Stebbins said. “But we were able to substitute a Cajun band from Louisiana called the Pine Leaf Boys.

“And I think there were seven or eight hundred people in attendance at that particular concert.

“Granted the group wasn’t from Paris, as No Jazz was, but their type of music still appealed to a very large segment of campus.”

The band even inspired several students to get up and dance in the aisles during the show.

There was also another important part of the semester that wasn’t a part of the themed semesters before.

It was the brown bag luncheons put on at noon every Wednesday in Spiva Library.

Over the summer, several faculty members visited France and each were asked to make a presentation to students during the fall semester.

“It seemed to go over very well,” Stebbins said. “We ran out of tickets at nearly all of the events.”

The library could only accommodate 60 students, so only 60 tickets were made every week and given out prior to the event.

Of course there were other, smaller events that filled out the 63-event calendar.

The Blue Railroad concert was a big hit, along with the Eric Vincent concert.

There was also a film festival and several guest speakers.

The last France Semester event was Nov. 28, but next fall will be the China Semester and planning will begin in January. Stebbins said members of the planning committee will analyze the positives from the France Semester and apply those to the planning of events next fall.

For questions or suggestions please contact Dr. Chad Stebbins at the Institute for International Studies, 625-9736.