Drake Gobbo honored by NAFSA for lifetime achievement

Announcement Date: May 16, 2023   |   Faculty, SIT Graduate Institute

Linda Drake Gobbo

School for International Training is pleased to announce that NAFSA: Association of International Educators has awarded SIT Professor Emerita Linda Drake Gobbo with Life Membership. The status recognizes NAFSA members whose career achievements advance the goals of the association and of international education and exchange.

“NAFSA’s strength derives from our members like Linda who, over the course of a career, has provided the association with formal and informal leadership, encouraged collaborative dialogues, and promoted knowledge creation to strengthen and serve the field,” said Dr. Fanta Aw, executive director and CEO of NAFSA. “Our community has relied on leaders like our Life Members for inspiration as we educate, advocate and innovate in international education. The dedication, effort, and advocacy of these committed members has been essential to the association’s success for over 75 years.”

During her more than four decade-long career in international education, Drake Gobbo taught and advised close to 1,000 students at SIT Graduate Institute and led the faculty team that developed the field’s first graduate degree. In 2019, she was named SIT professor emerita. Throughout her career, she has maintained a strong connection to NAFSA and the opportunities for collaboration with other professionals in the field.

... In my favorite NAFSA activities—the Academy for International Educators, the Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship knowledge community, and the Management Development Program—SIT alumni figure prominently.

Linda Drake Gobbo

Drake Gobbo was a lead designer and co-trainer of NAFSA’s first Academy for International Education, now in its 20th year. She assisted in the development of the five knowledge communities (KCs) structure, and later was the first individual elected to the Teaching, Learning and Scholarship KC chair stream. She was a trainer and program re-designer with the Management Development Program, most recently helping pivot to an online format at the onset of the pandemic.

Drake Gobbo said she is honored and humbled by the lifetime recognition. "My work with NAFSA provided an opportunity to engage in something I really loved to do and to work with some extraordinary people while doing it. Of course, SIT students and alumni have benefited from my activities within NAFSA over the years. Indeed, in my favorite NAFSA activities—the Academy for International Educators, the Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship knowledge community, and the Management Development Program—SIT alumni figure prominently."

Drake Gobbo's work has been acknowledged by NAFSA’s Region XI with the 2014 Sally Heym Award, the 2010 Recognition of Service Award, and the 2005 Distinguished Service Award. Although she retired from full-time work in 2022, Drake Gobbo continues to consult and present in the areas of strategic planning, internationalization, and curriculum development.

Dr. Sora Friedman, chair of SIT's International Education MA programs, said Drake Gobbo has been her advisor, mentor, and colleague. "I can think of no one who is as qualified for this award as Linda. She is the personification of the IE professional who both advanced the impact of the association and field, and touched hundreds if not thousands of international educators.

NAFSA life members become eligible for nomination at the announcement of their intended retirement from professional responsibilities in the field of international education. Life membership is not automatically granted to those who attain emeritus status; each recipient must be nominated by colleagues for their achievements. Life members receive regular membership privileges and a waiver of annual dues and annual conference fees in perpetuity.

The 2023 Life Members will be recognized for this honor during the NAFSA 2023 Annual Conference and Expo later this month.  The complete list of 2023 NAFSA awardees is available at https://www.nafsa.org/about/about-nafsa/life-membership-award.

NAFSA is the largest and most comprehensive association of professionals committed to advancing international higher education. The association believes that international education advances learning and scholarship, fosters understanding and respect among people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, is essential for developing globally competent individuals, and builds leadership for the global community.