The University Record, February 7, 1994

Flint faculty provide 300 books for Russian students

Igor Bogdanov, president of the International Academy of Business and Banking in Togliatti, Russia, recently sent a message to Stephen F. Hallam, dean of U-M-Flint’s School of Management, to thank the faculty for a gift of more than 300 textbooks.

The city of Flint and Togliatti, Russia’s automotive capitol, have a long-standing relationship. Each has hosted the other’s high school students, civic leaders, educators and physicians.

The new academy in Togliatti, Flint’s sister city, is teaching young Russians about a free market economy. Since educational material about such topics was banned under communism, appropriate textbooks are difficult to obtain.

U-M-Flint faculty gathered the needed books and Greg Allar, president of Flint’s Sister City Program, arranged for the AC Rochester Division of General Motors, headquartered in Flint, to help pay the shipping costs.

Hallam and David Scheslow, lecturer in management information systems, have been communicating with Togliatti faculty via the Internet, which is how Bagdanov sent his thank you message.

“Mail seems to take forever,” Hallam notes, “and the telephone system there is not always reliable. Plus, their time zone is nearly opposite ours. Therefore, e-mail provides a reasonable alternative.”

Bogdanov’s message indicated that the academy has started its course on the principles of financial accounting. “Lectures are delivered in English and we were short books for students. Now with your help, we have enough. Thank you very much.”

Hallam hopes this gesture eventually will lead to a faculty and student exchange program between the two schools.

“When I was in elementary school, we used to practice civil defense drills where we all had to crawl under our desks because of a possible atomic bomb attack from Russia,” he says. “I think it is just great we are now sending books and e-mail messages back and forth, and hope this leads to much more in terms of cooperation. Anyway, it sure beats crawling under your desk.”