Confucius Institute at Northern State to close

ABERDEEN, S.D. (Press Release) – The Confucius Institute at Northern State University will close effective June 21, 2020.


The decision was made after a thorough review of Northern’s international programs and activities. The university seeks to shift resources strategically toward services more aligned with its mission, including study abroad programs.

“This was a difficult decision, as we’ve enjoyed a positive relationship with Hanban and have appreciated the high-quality language and cultural programming provided by the institute,” said NSU President Dr. Tim Downs. “But we look forward to a continued exchange relationship with the University of Jinan, though in a less formal capacity.”

Northern’s Confucius Institute opened in 2015 through a partnership with the University of Jinan, providing Chinese language classes on campus and hosting community cultural events. When it closes next year, the intent is to retain staff within the NSU Office of International Programs to support global learning opportunities, said NSU Director of International Programs Leigh Neys.

“We’ve appreciated having this resource on our campus, and the hard work and dedication of everyone involved,” Neys said. “But looking to the future, we’re excited about moving forward with new strategic initiatives for international programming at Northern.”

That includes an increased emphasis on Northern’s study abroad programs. This summer, Northern has 56 students studying abroad – triple the number from last summer – and the hope is for interest to continue to increase.