A. J. Sugar, a native of Russia living in the US, is considered to be Bridgewater College's first international student. He enrolled in 1889 and graduated from the Commercial Course of the Virginia Normal School in 1890.
An International Relations Club formed at Bridgewater College in 1934. Students, faculty advisors, and some faculty members participated. Most of the earliest International Relations Club members appear to have been US nationals involved in promoting global peace and exploring world affairs.
Bridgewater College also had an International Club. The archives show that it was a popular student group with members from multiple US and international locations. The International Club explored and showcased cultures of the world through convocations and other events.
Bridgewater College historian Francis F. Wayland believed that no students traveled directly from another country to enroll in Bridgewater College until 1936. Bridgewater then began to open to international scholars. Matriculation of students from Cuba was an especially important part of life on the Bridgewater College campus in the mid-1930s to mid-1940s. Also of note were two students who immigrated to safety from Germany and graduated Bridgewater College in 1941.
As of 1952, the College began to offer scholarships to international students. 105 students from 30 international countries matriculated at Bridgewater College from 1936- 1980.
Bridgewater College is proud to welcome 27 students from 16 international countries during the 2022-2023 academic year. Bridgewater College's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion joins students and advisors in multiple campus organizations to celebrate and share worldwide cultures.
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