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First double degree student graduates in China

June 21, 2012

Coastal Carolina University President David A. DeCenzo presented Qian Chen with her CCU diploma yesterday at a graduation ceremony in Lanzhou, China. Chen, who earned a bachelor's degree (cum laude) in resort tourism management, is the first student to complete CCU's Sino-American 1+2+1 Double Degree Program, an academic partnership that the University has participated in since 2007.

Chen began her degree with a year's study at Guangzhou University in China, then studied at CCU from August 2009 to December 2011, when she returned to China to finish her course work at Guangzhou. While at CCU, she completed internships at the Sea Mist Resort in Myrtle Beach; with Aramark Corp., the food services company; and with a Chinese hotel company. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in the U.S. in the area of human resource management within the hospitality industry.

"The internships were helpful, really unique and really interesting," said Chen. "I think the most important thing was to work hard. I love CCU."

The Sino-American 1+2+1 Double Degree Program is jointly sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the China Center for International Educational Exchange (CCIEE). Students participating in the program earn two degrees, one from the American university and one from the Chinese university they attend. Currently, 82 Chinese institutions and 20 American institutions participate in the program. Four CCU students are now enrolled in the program, and another seven will join in the fall 2012 semester.

Chen was one of 258 students who received degrees from 16 U.S. universities at the June 20 ceremony in Lanzhou. In addition to her CCU diploma, she was also presented with a diploma from Guangzhou University by its vice president, Chen Shuang.

"Students in this program work very hard," said Darla Domke-Damonte, executive director of global initiatives at CCU and the first 1+2+1 program coordinator at the University. "They must complete all graduation requirements of both their Chinese university and CCU. The culture shock they experience when they arrive is sometimes monumental, but their presence as students on the CCU campus raises awareness about China for all our students. We are very proud of Qian's achievement."

For more information, contact Domke-Damonte at 843-349-2129 or by email at