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WISE History

History of the WISE Program

Year Program Development Participant Development Administrative Development
1991 Worcester Institute for Students of Europe (WISE) founded by Dr. Hanson.  First students arrive from Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Students lived at 33 Institute Road in Worcester, the home of Dr. Hanson, President and Executive Director.  Mary G. Laband, M.B.A, was hired as Administrative Director. 
1992 WISE begins offering summer exchange programs for American medical students.  First European Meeting held in Bratislava, Slovakia    
1993 Second European Meeting held in Prague, Czech Republic. Program expands to students in Poland.  
1994 Third European Meeting held in Olomouc, Czech Republic. Program expands to students in Yugoslavia and Slovenia.  Program initiates an exchange with the Worcester Art Museum for a student from Pushkin, Russia. WISE program began housing participant and extensively renovating a house on 157-159 Highland Street in Worcester.
1995 Program name legally changed to Worcester Institute for Student Exchange (WISE).  Fourth European Meeting held in Budapest, Hungary. Program expands to students in Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Albania and Israel. Eric Ranvig was hired as Assistant Director to oversee renovations and program development.  Constance Whitehead Hanks, with her background in international student affairs at Clark University, was hired consultant for student concerns.
1996 Fifth European Meeting held in Bratislava, Slovakia. Program initiates a music exchange involving classical musicians from Bratislava and a jazz guitarist from Jamaica. Dr. Hanson, and with him the WISE psychiatry-track participants, began work in Bangor, Maine.
1997   Program expands to house up to two psychiatry-track students in Bangor, Maine.  Arrival of research-track students regularizes to two new students every two months. Barbara Guidotti hired as Administrative Assistant to the WISE program in Bangor, Maine. 
1998 Sixth European Meeting held in Zakopane, Poland.    Mary Laband moves with her family to Tennessee, and David DeSmith replaces her as Administrative Director.
1999 Program begins to use the title Worcester Institute Supporting Exchange of culture and science (WISE).  Legal name remains Worcester Institute for Student Exchange (WISE).   Dr. Robert Humphreys left his position as a student advisor at UMass to focus on his biotechnology company.  David DeSmith moves to become the priest for an Episcopalian parish in Western Massachusetts, and Eric Ranvig replaces him as Administrative Director; Robert (Bobby) Laferriere is hired as Assistant Director of Administration in Worcester.
2000     Some WISE Psychiatry-track participants begin to be housed in Acton, MA.
2001   Program expands to students in the Ukraine. Keith Reed is hired to oversee renovations in Worcester

    Sarah Shapiro, an undergraduate at Harvard and a summer intern with WISE facilitated and edited the Twelve Year Report and establish an Alumni Database to be available to incoming students searching for a position and for advice from previous participants.

2003                                 Michal Cerny, WISE participant, researched data on previous WISE participants, whose profiles are included in this book. Jeremy Jamieson, a Colby College undergraduate, and summer intern with WISE finalized the report and assisted with editing and publication.
2005  The WISE program of medical student exchange continue and a music student exchange is  initiated with the conservatory in Bydgosz,Poland.  In autumn WISE celebrates it fifteenth year in a meeting in Hungary. A morning of medical updates is presented.  Music students from Poland and Slovakia attend the meeting and perform.

Longtime WISE bookkeeper Bobby Laferriere resigned, moving to Maryland to assist aging parents.  
2006  The WISE program of medical sudent exchange continues.   The WISE office moved to Acton, and the WISE property in Worcester was sold, making possible the purchase of two condominia in Budapest.  The WISE private foundation in Hungary was established and a program in art was developed in addition to continuation of the medical student program in Hungary. A fellowship in history of science and medicine was provided to Rainer Broemer, Visiting Scholar at Harvard, who also helped document the history of the WISE Foundation.
2007  The medical student exchange program continues.   Zoltan Bokanyi joins Keeler Ranvig in administration of the WISE foundation in Hungary and in management of the WISE property in Budapest. American medical students in exchange program reside for the first time in WISE apartments in Budapest.  The WISE program in the USA expands by hosting economics students from Omsk, Russia.  European meeting of WISE is held in Moravia, with musicians from Poland and a program of medical  updates.
2008  Medical student exchange program continues.  WISE in collaboration with the Boston Ballet invites students from the Kirov School in St. Petersburg for exchange student program.

WISE initiates program of awards for deserving individuals in the performing arts. It honors Austin Ku as the first WISE award recipient for his performance in Adrift in Macau at the Lyric Stage Theater.

2009  Hired Dr. Alan Francis, a Psychology research mentor, to assist WISE medical students with research projects exploring the field of clinical psychiatry.
2010 WISE extends its program in the performing arts to New Hampshire. A new award: “Emerging Artist Award of the Year” is added to the awards program and first of which go to two performers at the Peterborough Players
2011 WISE and Boston Conservatory together sponsor an event celebrating the birthday of WISE president and founder Dr. Hanson and WISE donates a chair to the Boston Conservatory's new auditorium. WISE which has had a ongoing interest in the Bates Dance Festival located in Lewiston, Maine initiated an emerging artist award program, there and granted an award to John Hoobyar, known there fondly as "Festival John."

2012 WISE expands program to Connecticut and visits the Festival of New Artists at Goodspeed campus, a three day festival that provides the opportunity for aspiring artists to further develop their projects.
2013 WISE visits university of Hartford and provides a small grant for the Hartt School, which is the University of Hartford's conservatory of music, theater, and dance.

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