Alumnus Mike Dolabi was a passenger on one of the last planes to leave Iran before the 1979 revolution. His parents sold their car to send 16-year-old Mike, the oldest of three children, to the United States to get the education they hoped would provide a better life.
Dolabi made his way to Greenville, where he was the only Iranian in the northeast Texas town. He lived by himself as a high school student, took classes with fifth-graders to learn English, and worked at Burger King to make ends meet.
Now 52, Dolabi founded and owns National Autobody Parts Warehouse. After scraping together the initial investment in 1993, he has overseen the company’s transformation into one of the nation’s premier auto body parts distribution centers (see “Unlikely Ascent”).
Like Dolabi in the 1980s, about 3,200 students from other countries attend UT Arlington today in search of a brighter future. You’ll meet Tram Cao of Vietnam, Souvik Dubey of India, and Sunil Sahi of Nepal in our story about the University’s growing international student population (see “A World of Possibilities”).
An international thread connects many of the articles in this issue.
Read about Ignacio Ruiz-Pérez, an associate professor of Spanish, who won a prestigious international poetry award. Experience the artwork of alumnus Carlos Donjuan, whose “Illegal Aliens” paintings depict his family’s journey from Mexico to the United States.
UT Arlington’s global reach extends to Russia, where students and professors in Allies in Youth Development teach and mentor orphans. It stretches to Africa, where nursing alumna Stephanie Duncan treats sick children aboard a hospital ship near the Republic of Congo.
Engaging with people from other cultures and countries is one of life’s treasures. It challenges our beliefs, expands our thinking, broadens our worldview—and becomes clearer through UT Arlington’s wide lens.
– Mark Permenter