Students standing in from of a Bowie mural

Thinking Global

More opportunities for St. Lawrence students to immerse themselves in new places creates a truly global classroom.

Jonathan Brown

“It’s important to see things firsthand,” Jenny Miller Goff P’17 says. “Some people can read a description; I have to be there.” 

Goff describes herself as a visual learner, which helped to shape the major gift she recently made to St. Lawrence, establishing the Madeline Goff ’17 Endowed Travel Fund, named for her daughter. The fund will help support off-campus study opportunities for students. 

“I truly believe that studying off-campus is an important growing experience,” Goff says. This endowment will help more students have that experience.

“Maddie and I love to travel,” Goff says, “and we agreed that this was the right gift for St. Lawrence and future students.” 

Before graduating in 2017, Madeline spent a semester in St. Lawrence’s London program. “My time in London gave me a preview of life after Canton,” Madeline says. “It was a good challenge, figuring out how to use the Tube [London’s subway system] and navigate both my academics and the city.” She dove into a wide variety of courses in London, including some outside her majors of art and art history.

“I had never taken a course in political science,” she says, “and we talked a lot about ‘Brexit’ and the UK electorate’s views on Britain leaving or remaining in the European Union. Within London, ‘remain’ was the more popular position, but, of course, the final vote was to leave.” 

For Madeline, the proximity to the debate on Brexit was profound. “I had the opportunity to talk about it with voters, the people who would be affected by the vote, in real time, in London,” she says with the vote taking place right after her final class.

This first-person perspective is an important part of the University’s global classroom experience: all over the world, St. Lawrence students can take part in off-campus programs run by the University’s Patti McGill Peterson Center for International and Intercultural Studies. 

“These programs change lives because they change students’ perspectives, on the world, on everything,” says Marina Llorente, Charles A. Dana Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures and Hanson Professor and Associate Dean of the Center of International and Intercultural Studies. Approximately 70 percent of St. Lawrence students take a course or immerse themselves in a program that is off-campus. 

“Wherever they go,” Llorente adds, “they see differences and they’re taught to understand why these differences exist. It’s a challenge to navigate, but our students prove themselves. They thrive in foreign environments and social interactions. These are the abilities that every employer wants right now.” In many professional fields, undergraduate experience overseas is expected.

“Research projects, internships, and the kind of course work we offer,” Llorente says, “provide this kind of professional development. Undergraduate geology students and others are expected to spend time on international projects. 
This is experiential learning and our students must be able to take advantage of it—for their futures and ours, too. Our international work distinguishes St. Lawrence from many peer institutions.”

St. Lawrence is known for its global approach to learning. The University recently received the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Comprehensive Internationalization. Given to only five higher-education institutions, the award is bestowed by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. It recognizes excellence in integrating international education throughout all facets of St. Lawrence curricula.

This is a University priority and an important component of The Campaign for Every Laurentian. Learning for the 21st Century is one of the Campaign’s “Big Ideas” and it includes raising funds to support more global classroom experiences. 

Gifts from Laurentian donors, like Goff, help ensure that all qualified students can travel, immerse themselves in different cultures, and gain a first-person perspective of the world and themselves. 

For more information on creating named funds and endowments visit