UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI

July 20th, 2018 | by CollegeAD
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI
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Ten years ago, without knowing it at the time, a trip to Vietnam changed former Missouri athletic director Michael Alden’s life. That trip and a return trip to the country in 2012 spurred him to help expand Nike’s micro-financing program, which offers small loans at token interest rates for those so poor they don’t have access to traditional financial institutions. Soon after he retired as MU’s AD in 2015, he went back, turns out that was just a start — both in the new course of his life and as a catalyst of a deep and multi-tiered Mizzou initiative in Vietnam. 

“It’s a Mike Alden production,” said Anne-Marie Foley, MU’s director of service-learning, laughing and adding, “Everything gets really big, really fast.” Or, as interim provost Jim Spain put it, Alden is an “Energizer bunny” in connecting what has become an elaborate program. In conjunction with everything from MU’s International Center to Foley’s office to MU Health Care to the MU International Trade Center, from the colleges of business, education and human environmental sciences, Alden has been instrumental in galvanizing endeavors there that now include a partnership with an AIDS/HIV center and an orphanage for blind children. He’s been to Vietnam nine times now, often for weeks, because the mission has given him what he considers fresh purpose in life.

In the same span, Mizzou has further developed an international trade internship program and now offers an American high school program affiliated with a Vietnamese school … And then some. And more to come, he vows. “It’s changed me. I look at things in a different way,” he said. “I have much more of an appreciation for the value of things — value being not material things but relationships.” Read In Full. The Kansas City Star

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