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WKU department head completes Eastern Europe expedition

Stops on Dr. David Keeling's recent Eastern Europe expedition included (top) new urban development in Minsk, Belarus, and (bottom) the Palm Island resort development in Dubai, UAE.

Stops on Dr. David Keeling’s recent Eastern Europe expedition included (top) new urban development in Minsk, Belarus, and (bottom) the Palm Island resort development in Dubai, UAE.

Dr. David Keeling, University Distinguished Professor of Geography and Department Head of Geography and Geology, recently completed an Eastern European–West Asian expedition representing WKU and the American Geographical Society.

Dr. David Keeling

Dr. David Keeling

The expedition visited Sweden, Corsica (France), Serbia, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Abu Dhabi (UAE), Bulgaria, Kosovo, Croatia and Montenegro, with a primary focus on urbanization, economic change and socio-historical development.

Dr. Keeling gave lectures along the way on the East European city, oil and gas resources in Central Asia, the Balkan conflicts, and the role of transportation and infrastructure in developing regional economies.

“Turning the vision of becoming a leading American university with international reach into reality requires two important ingredients,” Dr. Keeling said. “First, others must recognize the outcomes and accomplishments needed to build a wider reputation and, second, there must be a meaningful international element to what we do that also is recognized and valued.”

Dr. Keeling said expeditions like the one he just completed help WKU to focus on both of these critical elements and that reputations and global reach can only be built by faculty and students earning recognition in a variety of practical ways, including research, study abroad, scholarships and internships.

Among the 80 participants from across the United States were former S.E.C. chairs, CEOs of Fortune 50 corporations, former high-ranking government officials, heads and members of philanthropic institutions and foundations, and other leaders in higher education, business, and industry. “By becoming aware of WKU as an institution, as well as understanding more about geography and society, these proven leaders learn about WKU’s goals and ambitions, and thus become more likely to give philanthropically to WKU or to other universities,” Dr. Keeling said. “They are also more likely to identify WKU students and faculty as worthy awardees for grants, scholarships and other types of support. Outreach on these expeditions helps to raise WKU’s national profile and moves us closer to our institutional goal of being recognized as a leading American university engaged in ‘meaningful’ international reach.”

Contact: David Keeling, (270) 745-4555.

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