Photos: Deepan and Eugene with the O'Connell family, Sunil is greeted as he arrives for Thanksgiving, prayer with Bailey family.
“Now, what day is this?” wondered sophomore psychology major, Deepan Guharajan, in a telephone conversation as he was invited for a Thanksgiving meal. Guharajan is certainly not the first international student to be mystified by the strictly American holiday.
Dr. Janelle O’Connell, professor of physical therapy and department head, and Dr. Dennis O’Connell, professor of physical therapy, welcomed Deepan and senior ministry major, Eugene Wong, both from Malaysia, to their home for a Thanksgiving meal of traditional turkey and a splash of the more unusual…lasagna.
“HSU is home to more than 50 international students,” explained Kim O’Dell in the athletics office, who paired students with HSU families. O’Dell said about 20 of the students stayed in Abilene over the Thanksgiving holiday. “Students love to experience a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and it is a time that HSU faculty and staff can participate in a wonderful opportunity to share the season and bring another part of the world into their home.”
Communications professor, Dr. Joseph Bailey and family, were eager to greet Deepan’s older brother, honors student and graduating senior, Sunil Guharajan. Bailey says his family and Sunil met for Thanksgiving at his sister’s house, Keri Hoes and Chad Hoes, both HSU alums and class of 2002.
Deepan and Sunil follow their older brother Roshan, who served as president of the International Student Fellowship. Roshan graduated from HSU in 2010. Eugene Wong has a similar family history of attending HSU. Eugene's older brother, Adriel, earned a bachelor's and master's degree here and is now working as an adjunct professor at HSU.
Other faculty and staff members sharing the day with HSU’s international students were Dr. John Eric Swenson, professor of psychology; Bonnie Powell, admissions; John Snapp, director of human resources; and John Neese, HSU’s athletic director.