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DLIFLC celebrates 68th Anniversary
By Natela Cutter, Strategic Communications
The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center celebrated its 68th Anniversary Oct. 24, at the Naval Postgraduate School's Herrmann Hall, gathering 350 faculty, staff, students, alumni, community leaders and friends of the Institute.
Keynote speaker of the event was Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, a 1973 Spanish graduate of DLIFLC, while the festivity was sponsored by the DLI Alumni Association.
"It has now been over 35 years since I was here as a student, but I have only fond memories - a beautiful location, great instructors, and superb training," said Donley.
"I am especially appreciative of your efforts in support of the Air Force. Last year, you provided resident training to more than 1,200 Airmen, and post-basic training to more than 700 Air Force linguists via Mobile Training Teams, Video-Teletraining, web-based systems, and instructors assigned to support the language detachments at places like Offutt and Elmendorf Air Force Bases," he said.
"Your mission has taken on even greater importance since 9/11. After that fateful day, you've made great strides to surge your capabilities and capacity in languages like Dari, Pashto, and Uzbek, and I applaud you for your efforts. Your 24 language programs are rightly regarded as among the very best in the country," said Donley. "There is an increasing need to work with many different peoples and form close partnerships, which underscores the need to communicate with them, to understand their culture, and ultimately, their world view."
Distinguished alumni who presided over the cake cutting this year were Daniel J. Lovick and William Meyer, both Russian 1959 graduates, the currently longest serving faculty member, Dr. Kawther Hakim, who came to DLIFLC on June 28, 1974, DLIAA President Ben De La Selva, a faculty member from 1972 to 2005, and George Ferguson, a 1947 Army Language School faculty member.
"It was a magnificent event because it gathered faculty, staff, students, alumni, community leaders, and friends of DLI in one place, which we seldom see. The event was made possible by the volunteer committee members whom I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart," said De La Selva. Twenty-one instructors and staff volunteered during off duty hours to provide support that ranged from ticket sales to decorating the dining hall.
Entertainment during the event included Arabic, Korean, and Indian dances, and a solo performance by a Chinese faculty member, while guests enjoyed dancing to the music of the Mike Marotta Band throughout the evening.