WARRENSBURG, Missouri, February 25, 2009 -- The University of Central Missouri (UCM) will celebrate its 10th annual Saudi Arabia Day on Oct. 16.

University's Arabia Day Features Nances Paul J. Nance chats with two UCM students during 2008’s Saudi Arabia Day. At left is Sara Hany Faidy, an economics major from Jiddah, and at right is Ashwaq Fouad Mohammed Sultan Al-Subhi, a finance major, also from Jiddah.

Since its inception in 1999, Saudi Arabia Day has become an important event that celebrates the Paul J. Nance Collection; the growing connections between UCM, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East; and UCM’s longstanding belief in international education.

Saudi Arabia Day also serves as a celebration for Middle Eastern students on campus, who bring traditional foods from their homes for the gathering of international educators, the campus community, and international students and their families. The event continues to grow, gaining international recognition.

The impetus for Saudi Arabia Day at UCM was the work of Paul J. Nance, who worked for Aramco for 35 years. Upon his retirement, he and his wife, Colleen, returned to the United States, where they opened a private museum of Middle Eastern art and artifacts, sharing their vast collection with the public. Nance donated the entire collection to UCM in 2003.

Saudi Arabia Day also celebrates the Nances’ legacy and the continued impact of the Nance Collection on multicultural education and East-West cooperation. The event also recognizes the continued efforts at UCM to build bridges between the Middle East and America’s Midwest, especially the connections between Middle Eastern students, UCM’s international alumni, the Nance Collection and the campus community.

The university extends an invitation to join them for the celebration. Plans include special recognition of UCM alumni in the Middle East. UCM alumni may join the growing list of alumni in the Middle East online by going to Middle East Meets the Midwest for more information.