ST. CLOUD -- St. Cloud State University is celebrating its 150th birthday this year. Once a month SCSU Archivist Tom Steman comes on the News @ Noon Show to talk about the rich history of the campus.

Tuesday the topic was the internationalization of the school. He says the first international students go back as far as 1912. Probably the most well-known is Brendan McDonald from Regina, Canada who graduated in 1954. He's well known because he later became the St. Cloud State President in 1982 and served in that role until 1992.

Spokeswoman Margaret Vos says the idea of becoming an international campus really started to grow in the 1970s.

It was the early 70s that there was the awareness that we are having international students, only about 50 or so.  But we also started some of our study abroad programs in the early 70s.  Denmark was the first place.

Throughout the 1980s and early 90s there were generally about 200 international students at SCSU. That number has grown to over 1,700 this year.  Vos says that's partly due to second generations of families.

The running joke for a while was if you wen to Nepal and you heard two people talking about studying in America they were probably talking about St. Cloud State.  So our students have a great experience, they go back home, and we see generations of students that say what a wonderful place in the middle of the fly over zone.

The top five countries represented at the school this year are Nepal (346), China (166), India (145), Saudi Arabia (111) and South Korea (72).

Bruce and Kathyrn Grube attend the International Festival, St. Cloud State University, March 1997

St. Cloud is only behind the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus for the number of international students at Minnesota institutions.