Posted on: July 14, 2014

Preparing Global Leaders: 15 Years of Excellence

Preparing Global Leaders: 15 Years of Excellence

Global leaders possess an exceptional set of characteristics which make them stand out and enable them to succeed. Three key factors help educate young people to empower them to become future global leaders. First, it takes a special vision and a visionary who can guide those young people and all those impacting them. Second, it takes a unique environment that challenges students and feels safe, at the same time. Finally, it takes a culture of success, in which leadership skills are nurtured in a practical way. VIU has been preparing students to be global leaders from its very founding, 15 years ago. Here is the story of our accomplishments, at a glance.

The Visionary
VIU founder, Dr. Isa Sarac, has been involved in the higher education field for most of his life. Holding multiple graduate-level degrees, Dr. Sarac has been a professor, a researcher, an education publisher and a university founder. Having already founded a successful university in London, he wanted to replicate and improve on that experience in the United States.  When Dr. Isa Sarac founded Virginia International University (VIU) in 1998, he did so with a set of core values that still serve as the foundation of VIU today. Those values of openness, diversity, innovation and peace-building come out of Dr. Sarac’s conviction that education is the main tool to build peace throughout the world. By founding an institution of higher education wherein students can come from diverse national, cultural, and social backgrounds and study alongside each other in the classroom, Dr. Sarac has truly made this vision a reality. Today, VIU is a place where there is real freedom to exchange ideas, backgrounds and grow together.

The Growth

Since 1998, when VIU officially opened its doors and began achieving the goal of providing the highest quality of education, it has shown consistent growth. An institution that began with a handful of students in the Fall 1999 semester, had 25 times more students by Fall 2005!  In 2010, VIU’s students more than doubled again, representing more than 50 countries across the globe.  In this same year, VIU opened the School of Online Education. Students can now enroll in, study, and earn a degree or certificate from all over the world, both here on our campus in the Washington DC metropolitan area, and through our online classrooms. We launched many new in-demand programs along the way, as we increased our numbers of students, faculty and staff.

The Commitment
VIU is committed to providing a better education for a better world. Through a student-centered approach, we provide the most positive environment for learning available anywhere. Our programs are structured to allow students great flexibility in the design and direction of their own studies. As part of our commitment to give back to the community, students are encouraged to apply for a variety of scholarships and to work in the university as student representatives in their field. This provides them with practical, hands-on knowledge that they can take with them into the real world.

The Global Success
Throughout their time at VIU, our students’ leadership skills are developed and nurtured, and they graduate fully prepared to make a positive difference in their communities as they enter the workforce. Our success can be seen in the success of our alumni: so many of them are leaders in their fields, some staying in the local area and others going back to make positive changes in their home countries.
VIU alumni are leaders in many areas: several of them head various government agencies around the world, from leading communications in the embassy of a Middle Eastern country to strategic planning at the Ministry of Mineral and Energy Resources of a Central Asian nation. Others work in large multinational corporations like Deloitte, Ernst & Young, in international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank or in large technology companies like IBM, Cisco and Google. Entrepreneurship also runs strong at VIU; after graduating with prestigious VIU MBAs, several alumni have started their own businesses: a school in the Far East, a textile mill in South Asia, a technology firm in Africa. And yet other alumni surprise us, becoming executives in fields as varied as American media and the European air and space industry. One thing remains certain: wherever our alumni end up, they are well equipped to lead with the preparation and practical experience they have gained at VIU.

The Appreciation
The year 2013 marked an important milestone for our university, as our doors have been open for 15 years.  15 years of providing education to a diverse student body, 15 years of making educational dreams come true, and 15 years of building the future together.
Our president Dr. Sarac would like to highlight many great people who have been instrumental in VIU’s growth and development. Starting with his own family, initial investors in his dream, as well as Richard J. Ernst, Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, Jennifer Watts, Dr. Bishnu Poudel, Dr. Habib Khan, Mr. Tarik Celik, Mr. Hasan Karaburk, Dr. Laura Hills, Dr. Gail Whitaker, and Dr. Masha Vassilieva, and so many more individuals whose contributions are unparalleled. We would also like to express our deepest gratitude to all the wonderful staff, current and former, alumni, current students and friends and supporters that have made VIU succeed. We have become more than we could have ever dreamed, because of them.

The Bright Future
In the last 15 years, VIU has not only broadened its brand and global reach but expanded physically, growing to 4 campuses. VIU has also been a continuous innovator, providing superior education through faculty and staff who go to the latest conferences and participate in research in their fields as well as the latest technological advances, including the VIU app and even an electronic text-based student alert system.
As we look back on these 15 years of excellence, we see our alumni becoming successful global leaders in business, technology and education sectors and we see our current students excel in their fields. In looking towards the bright future, all of us here at VIU are excited to see what the next 15 years of excellence will hold for our institution, and we firmly believe that the best is yet to come.