MACON, Georgia (41 NBC/WMGT) – Wesleyan College celebrated its grand opening of the Confucius Institute Thursday afternoon.
The day was filled with gift exchanges and ceremonies and even a few jokes.
The placement of the institute here in Macon is significant because it's the first in Middle Georgia. The other 4 in the state are in the Metro Atlanta area.
Special guests were invited to celebrate the opening including Macon Mayor Robert Reichert who said that having the institute in Macon, "is a huge step because it mirrors the institution of the American cultural institute in China and now the relationship between the city of Macon and China and we hope will continue to be productive of friendships and business relationships and mutual benefits."
Today's ceremony is also significant because it marks the 100th anniversary of Soong Ching-Ling's graduation from Wesleyan College. Ching-Ling graduated from the school and started the China Welfare Institute that to this day provides the health and well being of women and children.
Wesleyan College President Ruth Knox expressed why she believes the institute here in Macon will be especially different.
"Because we have something no one else in the world has, the Soong sisters are ours, they were educated here in the Wesleyan way and they change the world," Knox said. "They like many other Wesleyan alumni, prove that well educated women can become more powerful women working for the good for all"
The Confucius Institute at Wesleyan College includes Chinese language courses and summer camps in China dedicated to furthering students understanding of the Chinese culture.