Former dean honored for founding international exchange

Sep 03, 2010

Delaware Valley College’s former dean of agriculture and environmental sciences was honored this spring by a Polish university for helping to found an international agricultural exchange program with the college.

Retired Dean Dr. James E. Diamond was honored by the University of Podlasie in Sieldce, Poland, during the  university’s annual  achievement ceremony.

“Students that are in college today, in all likelihood, their career path is going to have international roots in one way or another,” said Diamond. “If we as educators are going to properly prepare undergraduates, we have the professional responsibility of providing an international experience.”

Diamond, of Ottsville, Pa., and Ms. Helen Piszek Nelson, of Ambler, Pa., founded the Piszek/Evans/Diamond Agricultural Exchange Program between the University of Podlasie and DelVal. 

Piszek Nelson, co-chair of the Copernicus Society of America, had the idea to start the program and worked with Diamond to make the exchange possible.

The exchange program, established in 2007, usually takes about four DelVal students and a faculty member to Poland each May. The trip is free for students and is funded by the Copernicus Society of America. In the fall, students from Poland have the opportunity to come to DelVal.

Piszek Nelson is the daughter of the late Edward J. Piszek, who started Mrs. Paul’s, a successful frozen fish company once based in Doylestown. Edward, a successful businessman and philanthropist, also established the Copernicus Society of America.

Polish students will arrive at DelVal in early October. They will visit local farms, tour Herr’s food company and Hatfield Quality Meats, see The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and more.

According to Diamond the visit will be a mixture of “culture and agriculture.”

Accompanying Diamond to Poland were his wife Elizabeth Diamond, DelVal’s current dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Judith Schwank, and DelVal mathematics professor Svetlana Shkitko. Dean Schwank and Professor Shkitko are both involved with the Polish agricultural exchange at DelVal.