of the many cross-cultural experiences throughout my life, I was able to develop a strong
sensitivity to cultural differences.
I immigrated to the United
States from Germany in 1961 with my former wife and a 10-week-old baby. At that time it
was not required to have a job in order to qualify for an immigrant visa. It took me a few
weeks before I found a position with a major airline in Pittsburgh, Pa. Although it was
not always easy, I believe I adapted to the new environment and culture very quickly and
effectively as is evident from my various accomplishments and involvement. I became U.S.
citizen in 1968.
From 1968 to1973, during my
work toward undergraduate and graduate degrees at U.S. universities, I had to adapt to
academic environments which were quite different from the one I was used to in Europe.
Cultural differences must have been foremost on my mind: During my studies I wrote essays
on cross-cultural experiences and completed a research paper on inter-cultural
In 1973, I accepted a job at
Shaw University, a liberal arts college, in Raleigh, NC. It had a student body that was
about 98% African-American. Staff and faculty were about 80% African-American, while the
rest was white-American, from the Middle East and Asia. My immediate supervisor was from
India. I was able to effectively meet the challenge of adapting to another American and to
people from foreign cultures through daily interactions with students, staff and faculty.
I believe that I was very successful during that time making significant contributions to
Shaw University. I stayed there for five years.
I closely worked with two
staff members from other cultures at my current position at St. Olaf College for several
years. Tai (Jim) was from Taiwan, and Saleem, whom I hired myself, was from Pakistan.