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Update on Turkish Students at the University of Virginia and U.Va.’s College at Wise

August 25, 1999 -- Before the recent earthquake in Turkey, the University of Virginia was expecting about 50 undergraduate and 18 graduate students to arrive from that country. Eleven Turkish students were expected in the entering undergraduate class, according to Parke Muth, an assistant dean of admission who coordinates international admissions.

Muth, who has been in touch with some undergraduate Turkish students by phone and e-mail, says that it appears a few will not be able to attend U.Va. this fall. Some students will likely return at the start of spring semester in January, he said.

An e-mail message received from Rukiye Zeynep Basak, a third-year student majoring in psychology, says that he has not heard "any bad news" from his Turkish friends who attend U.Va. Istanbul, the city in which most of the Turkish students who attend U.Va. reside, was less affected by the quake than other areas. Basak can be reached via e-mail at

Officials in U.Va.'s International Studies, Registrar, Financial Aid and Bursar’s offices are working individually with Turkish students to address any registration or payment complications the earthquake may have caused.

For information on such accommodations, contact:

  • Steve Kimata, University Bursar, (804) 924-4242.
  • Ann Antrobus, University Registrar, (804) 924-4124.
  • Suzanne Louis, associate director, International Studies Office, (804) 982-3015.
  • Parke Muth, assistant dean of admission, (804) 982-3382.

Turkish Ties at U.Va.'s College at Wise

U.Va.'s College at Wise has some strong links to Turkey. The college has one Turkish student enrolled and four exchange students from Istanbul University attending this year. One of those students, Umit Ersamut, has returned to the campus and can be reached at (540) 376-4171.

Research conducted by Vice Chancellor for Development and College Relations Brent Kennedy has strengthened the college’s ties to Turkey. His research on the Melungeon people of central Appalachia has found probable genetic ties between the mountain people and 15th century Turks. That connection led the college to establish an academic fellowship with Istanbul University. It also helped the town of Wise establish links with the port city of Cesme, a likely departure point for Turks who came to American shores more than 400 years ago.

Kennedy has many friends in the earthquake area and has learned that one of them was killed. Kennedy be reached at (540) 328-0129 or (800) 468-3412.

Because of the college's ties to the area, it is coordinating local efforts to help earthquake victims. It has established a victims’ relief fund. It is also working with the town of Wise and its sister city of Cesme on other relief efforts. For more information, contact Kennedy at (540) 328-0129 or (800) 468-3412.

The college's new public radio station, WISE-FM, and East Tennessee State University's station, WETS-FM, aired a special program on the earthquake. The program included a panel of local experts. For more information on the broadcast, contact F. Scott Pippin, director of broadcast media and station manager, WISE-FM, at (540) 328-0130 or (540) 328-0300.

One of the college's faculty is Sami Ferliel, a visiting professor of Turkish. He can be reached at (540) 376-4027.

Contact: Ida Lee Wootten, (804) 924-6857

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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