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A Global Education

A Global Education
Nathawut Suksomanat (left), the first recipient of the Jay Nathan Scholarship, is joined by Dr. Nathan (center) and Carol Maculloch (right), director of Leadership Gifts, University Advancement.

“We can all learn from each other, and when we do, we are better off,” said Jay Nathan, Ph.D., a professor of management at St. John’s University in Queens, New York. “When we include other perspectives — not that we always 100 percent have to agree — it gives us all a new kind of knowledge. It opens our minds so we can think from different angles.” 

That’s why Dr. Nathan, a Lackawanna County resident and former tenured faculty member at Scranton, has made sure to weave the principles of cultural anthropology and its related disciplines into his life’s work. Though the subjects might not at first seem connected, they in fact are highly symbiotic, extending to the business world and beyond, he said.

This mindset led him to establish the Jay Nathan, Ph.D., Visiting Scholar Lecture Series, held at the University each spring. The program invites international scholars from economically challenged and politically suppressed nations to visit the University, addressing issues that aim to enlighten and benefit students, faculty and the community.

“Working in a globalized world has made me who I am today,” said Dr. Nathan. “I’m very excited to have the opportunity and am so honored to have this lecture series in my name.”

In its first two years, the series has featured distinguished representatives from Kazakhstan and Mongolia, and Dr. Nathan is actively working with the Royal Thai Embassy this year for the program that will take place next spring.

Dr. Nathan said both participants and attendees have the opportunity to learn from — and better understand — each other during the event. He called the interactions that are bound to occur during the series “mutually rewarding."

“I’ve had the opportunity to live in many places, and I’ve learned from everybody,” he said. “Being a professor enables me to bring my own experiences into the classroom and share the knowledge I’ve learned, but it also allows me to share and learn from students as well.”

It was no accident that he decided to teach at two Catholic universities. His father, first in the family to attend college, attended a Jesuit university. Dr. Nathan is not only committed to Catholic education, he is dedicated to Scranton, having also established a scholarship in his name to provide financial assistance to graduate students enrolled in The Kania School of Management who are from Mongolia, Thailand, India, Poland or the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan.

“I believe in the Catholic and Jesuit tradition,” he said. “My teaching career at Scranton, and now at St. John’s, has been a way to honor my father.”

Before deciding to teach, Dr. Nathan worked at multinational corporations, responsible for corporate strategy and planning, forecasting and quality management. As a distinguished Fulbright Scholar in Thailand, Mongolia, Poland and Kazakhstan, and as the past recipient of several Ben Franklin grants, Dr. Nathan has traveled, lived, researched and lectured in numerous countries. This, he said, has given him a global view.

“I have been so transformed as a result. It was a privilege and I am humbled by those experiences,” he said. “I’m very grateful to the people I met; they were so hospitable. In some places, people may lack resources, but in terms of eagerness to learn and their way of thinking, they have been amazing. I’ve learned so much from them during my travels.”

The Jay Nathan, Ph.D., Visiting Scholar Lecture Series complements the University’s Strategic Plan, which focuses on delivering an engaged, integrated and global student experience. Read more about the plan here. Read more about the lecture series at scranton.edu/jaynathanlecture.

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