A&M-Commerce teams with University of Mindanao

Commerce – The passionate desire of several Greenville residents to help students in the Philippines has led them to Texas A&M University-Commerce where an agreement has been signed to admit Filipino students from the University of Mindanao.

Dr. Aland Mizell, president of Minority Care International, and A&M-Commerce President Dan R. Jones signed the Memorandum of Agreement that allows the students to enroll at A&M-Commerce and establishes a Cross-Cultural Studies Exchange and Internship Program.

"I am very excited about the relationship we are forming with the University of Mindanao," Jones said. "I firmly believe that education is our nation's best form of international diplomacy and we look forward to welcoming to campus our first student from the Philippines this fall," he said.

"This is a great beginning," Mizell said. "It will be good for the university in the Philippines and the students there," said Mizell, who earned a doctorate in international relations with a focus on minority politics and conflict resolution.

Seeing poverty and violence in the southern Philippines led Mizell to establish Minority Care International, a charitable non-governmental and non-profit organization committed to assisting the impoverished through economic and educational development.

"The gift of a scholarship to a student who would otherwise remain educationally disadvantaged offers a way out of poverty, disease, and desperation, changing life forever," Mizell said.

Two Filipino students will enroll this fall with one studying nursing and the other business. They will gain workplace skills in an internship that complements their coursework.

The University of Mindanao was established in 1946 and is one of the oldest universities in Southern Philippines with an enrollment of about 30,000.

Mizell, his parents of Greenville, and several Greenville residents, including businessman Dee Hilton and his wife, Mary Jean, have made trips to the Philippines to become acquainted with the nation, culture, and the students.

MCI not only provides full scholarships for impoverished indigenous and Muslim students, but also provides counseling and income opportunities for its scholars.

Through its initiatives, MCI stresses community development, life and work skills, and civic responsibility.

The students enrolling will work part-time in local medical facilities and at Trust Services, Inc., where Hilton is president and chief executive officer.

The students will join about 400 other international students at A&M-Commerce who are from 50 nations.