Alfred State College President Dr. John M. Anderson, (second from right), ASC Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Steven J. Tyrell, (right), and Dr. Shaojie Jiang, ASC director, International Education, (far left) welcomed Lin Zhongdong and Ma Xiaochuan (l-r) to the college as they begin their year-long stay as part of SUNY's (State University of New York) China 150 program, which has welcomed 150 Chinese students to 22 SUNY schools, allowing them to continue their studies which were interrupted by an earthquake in Sichuan province in May. The students, primarily sophomores and juniors, arrived in the United States earlier this month, and will study for two semesters as full-time students at SUNY state-operated and community college campuses. Each student has committed to return to China upon completion of the program in May/June 2009 and to a period of national service in Sichuan to help with the rebuilding effort. In the Pioneer spirit and tradition that is a part of Alfred State, campus employees assembled welcome baskets and gifts for these two brave young women to help them furnish their rooms, nourish their bodies and their spirits, and prepare them for our Western New York winters. Upon welcoming the new students, Anderson also remarked, "We are happy to have you here at Alfred State College. We want you to feel welcome here, and to become part of the Alfred State family." Following the President's remarks, Dr. Steven J. Tyrell, vice president for Student Affairs, gave the students a brief overview of life at ASC, and presented them with additional gifts. The young women each gave a summary of their experiences during and since the earthquake and expressed their gratitude at this chance to continue their studies. The State University of New York has been involved with educational exchange and research collaborations with China and anticipates that this initiative will increase the connections between New York State and the Sichuan Province, leading to economic, educational, and cultural benefits.