Students From Around the World Say “Thank You” to Shortt

Friday, December 7, 2012

After 30 years of service, Sylvia Short is still most admired for her ability to make international students feel at home from the moment they join the UWG family. A recent retirement reception for Shortt brought together dozens of colleagues and international students to reminisce, offer best wishes, but most of all say thank you for her outstanding work with the International Services and Programs.

“Sylvia has been wonderful for our international program,” said Dr. Sethna, president of UWG. “When I meet UWG alumni in other countries, they always ask about Sylvia. She has been a hero for the students.”

Shortt’s hard work has not only been recognized by students, but by the state of Georgia. In 2009, the Sylvia Shortt Scholarship for International Students was established in honor of her exceptional work with international students. Shortt was also acknowledged statewide as an experienced authority on immigration rules and regulations of international students.

UWG alumnus Adebayo Onabule, a native from Nigeria, recalls working with Shortt as both an undergraduate and graduate student. “Sylvia has been the brain behind international issues for the university and the state,” said Onabule. “We’re going to miss having her as a resource here. She was my mom away from home and that kind of love she gave the international students will be truly missed.”

Members of the International Student Club presented Shortt with a farewell video that contained a compilation of messages from faculty, friends, family and international students she positively impacted over the years.

“Sylvia was dedicated to the students,” said Director of International Services and Programs, Dr. William Schaniel. “She was a vital part to the office because she was integrated in the university and in the broader community through many connections, and that is going to be very hard to duplicate.”

Shortt says she plans to spend some of her free time traveling the world to visit many of her international students. “The students are the very hardest part to leave,” said Shortt. “They are the most awesome international students in the world. After 30 years, I still have alumni everywhere that I keep in contact with and we have reunions. They are my passion.”