Here is the text of the presentation given by Alberto
ESTO SE CUMPLE HOY: Today this becomes a reality!
Since our days as students at Pacific many things have taken place in our lives. None of them, however, changed the way we felt about our Alma Mater, nor did they separate us from our friendships to one another, nor from our commitment to continue our tradition and experience as Inter-American citizens. Inter-American citizens who truly had the opportunity to live and grow in the best Inter-American society ever available to the younger generations of Latin American and United States students, Elbert Covell College.
Today, as we ready to re-launch the Inter-American Program at the University of the Pacific, this time under a completely different set of conditions and circumstances around the world, it becomes necessary for all of us to try to remember and share what it was that made us so unique and successful as a program for over twenty years, from the conception of the idea in 1962, to its unfortunate finale, back in 1985.
For most Covelianos, the secret for the success of the program was basically the result of a perfect blend of vision, action, commitment and leadership on the part of the university, plus an excellent selection of first-class faculty who came from different backgrounds and nationalities. They all exceeded their roll of being merely teachers to become friends and family to the students, as well as literally being our Guardian Angels.
Besides being knowledgeable, our faculty was patient and tolerant with us. Our often childish attitudes, lack of knowledge and personal weaknesses as young inexperienced human beings, never became obstacles for their excellent performance. Quite the contrary, each of them taught us with dedication, love and devotion. Furthermore, they went beyond their course work to teach us concepts of life, principles, morals and often sharing with us personal experiences and culture. This was a major difference between our school and other schools and universities, including, of course, other schools and from even our own beloved Alma Mater, the University of the Pacific.
Our learning process was then, a continuous and ongoing process which simply changed locations from classrooms at the Wendell Phillip Center, to The Centro, to the Dinning hall, to the theater, the gardens, etc., to Mexican restaurants in Stockton and, very often, to the professor’s houses for social gatherings. In all truth, they very often became our own homes for those of us who couldn’t go home during vacations due to financial reasons. That was certainly a big difference.
Students, on the other hand, were selected and arrived from all countries of the Americas and Spain. We all shared the common objective to graduate and attain a Diploma soon so we could go back to our respective countries. We also shared a huge enthusiasm for the program and we all became its promoters and brought more students from our locations. We were willing to learn, not just from the academic content which was excellent, but from each other’s lives and thoughts as well.
We became a large Family with extensions and “relatives” in all of our countries throughout Latin America and the U.S.
Languages (English, Spanish and some Portuguese), and slang or idioms from each country represented in Covell were adopted in our daily, every moment, activities. We created a rather large language which we called then Spanglish which included words from all of the countries represented in our student community.
Similar blending happened with our way of thinking, eating habits and even in the way we learned to face and analyze problems. I could say then that we all became one nationality, the Inte-American, and formed a real Family, the Coveliano Family which we have maintained since the day we entered the Program. Proof of this is the fact that whenever any Coveliano travels to a country different from his (her) own, we first look for local Covelianos and get in touch with them. It is always after we have made contact that we proceed to do our personal or professional activities. It is great, undoubtedly, to have family members everywhere where one goes!
Since last August, 2008, Covelianos from all countries have been very happy to see how we have started to grow again in numbers, with the inclusion of residents of Casa Covell and, very soon, we will do it much faster with the new students who will enroll in the Inter-American Program. Now, indeed, it is the turn of the younger generations to recreate the Coveliano tradition and improve it. We, members of the older generations, will continue our efforts to support the program in each of our countries and with the University as well. The time has come now for recreating and re-blending, once again, the components which were key to the success of the program during its first stages. Now we will need everybody’s effort to attain it and Covelianos, everywhere, indeed, are willing help.
When, in the year 2004, Covelianos were invited by Pacific to meet again at the Centro and Dean Ensign and Provost Gilbertson requested us to come up with a text to be placed in a plaque at the Centro entrance, after lots of discussions amongst ourselves, Covelianos ended it up by saying:
“It is the wish of Alumni, former Faculty and Administrators that the legacy of Elbert Covell College will live within the School of International Studies curriculum as well as in University of the Pacific programs, and enrich the entire university environment ….” . Today this becomes a Full Reality!
Congratulations to ALL…….. Let’s continue with the good work!