Grambling State University’s President Willie D. Larkin is looking to expand both educational borders and the GSU brand in Cuba. As Auburn University’s College of Agriculture and California State University, Fullerton currently have agreements in place with the University of Havana, the possibility for Grambling State to develop such collaborative programs with universities in Cuba is taking shape.
In 2014, President Obama announced that the United States would be restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years. The announcement sparked interest and presented opportunities for entrepreneurs, corporations and for institutions of higher learning to expand their borders.
For the higher education community in particular, the benefits are numerous. According to a 2015 article in The Wall Street Journal, Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business are eager to enroll students from Cuba as soon as possible. “The Cuban market is attractive in part, because the country’s higher-education system has a reputation for developing students who are strong in math and the sciences,” according to Derrick Bolton, director at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
Larkin sees many possible prospects, as well. “One of my goals is to expand Grambling’s international footprint over the next 5 years.” Larkin is currently visiting Cuba to become more acquainted with the country’s culture and educational systems. It is important that all of our supporters know that I am constantly mining for unique advantages for our students, faculty and staff. I am looking for golden prospects, as they relate to higher education. Cuba is a goldmine just waiting to happen.”
The Tom Joyner Foundation is also currently on an educational 4-day exploratory trip in Cuba. A spokesperson for the Foundation noted, “We want to provide an opportunity for HBCU presidents to begin to figure out how Cuba may play a role in providing exciting opportunities for their students and research for their faculty.”