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Puerto Rico Students Find Second Home at King University

BRISTOL, Tenn., Aug. 14, 2015 – Through the years, global citizenship has been a part of the King University community. From across the United States and the globe, students come together and develop a broadened awareness and appreciation of diverse cultures.

In 2014, a total of 81 students from six continents and 37 countries made the decision to travel to the U.S. and attend King. Each student’s decision to choose King is different, whether for academics, athletics or the one-on-one personalized attention for which King is known. Within those 37 countries, three students in particular have similar roots - seniors Jose Sola and Alexander Gonzalez, and juniors Nicole M. Maldonado Millan and Moises Soto. All four hail from the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico - Sola from Aguadilla, Gonzalez from Rincon, Soto from Aguada, and Nicole from San Juan. In Aug. 2015, two additional students from Puerto Rico will join them.

Reaching out to the students from the various territories was an idea sparked by Director of Transfer and International Recruitment Elvin Browne, who himself is originally from the Virgin Islands.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for students who are U.S. citizens hailing from the territories to be able to come across the seas and go to school,” Browne said.  “I remember growing up as a child - it was a dream to travel to the United States mainland for a quality education.”

Coming to the United States was a significant adjustment for the four students, who grew up in Puerto Rico. When asked what the biggest difference between small town Bristol, Tenn., and a country like Puerto Rico, Gonzalez summed it up perfectly.

“Customs and traditions are different,” Gonzalez said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to come here and do what I love - receive a high quality education and play baseball.”

Both Sola and Gonzalez plan to pursue careers in sports management and coaching.

“[Coming to the U.S.] was a bit of a culture shock at first, but everyone has been so helpful here at King,” said Sola. Gonzalez added, “The coaches and faculty have been great; they all go the extra mile to help.” 

Millan commented, “I decided to come to King University because it offered an excellent Biology program as well as a competitive swimming team, something I was looking for in a small Christian college. What I like best about King is how students and teachers treat each other, everyone is very understanding. I definitely recommend students from Puerto Rico to come to King University and pursue their academic goals. King offers many excellent majors as well as minors. It has a welcoming environment for everyone, something that convinced me to come here. It’s a very secure place to live, study, and enjoy your college life.”

Soto, who is majoring in Business Administration, Marketing, and Spanish, initially went to MacMurray College in Illinois, then transferred to King his sophomore year. “King is different in so many aspects. The thing I like the most is the emphasis on your studies. Coach [Blaine] Brown tells us we have to do our job in and out of class. There is always someone there to help you. The teachers give you an extra hand so you can perform better. King is a great school overall, athletic and in class. King is one of the best schools there is.” Soto added that for any students thinking about coming to King from Puerto Rico, he would be eager to help them in addition to the help they will receive from professors and coaches.

“I feel we’ve tapped into an excellent location with a lot of interest in all the advantages that King has to offer,” Browne said. “The response has been positive.”

King’s Puerto Rican alumni have gone on to be quite successful in their chosen career fields:  Doriscelis (Doris) Roura (’92) is the assistant director NCAA compliance for the Universidad de Puerto Rico in Bayamon, Puerto Rico; Ed Couvertiere (’91) serves as regional sales representative for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, in Knoxville, Tenn.; Madeline Bravo Bishop (’91) is an elementary school teacher in Maryville, Tenn.; Cèsar Bravo (’93) is an orthopedic surgeon I Roanoke, Va.; and Sandy Toucet (’91) serves as district manager for Henkel in Puerto Rico.

To learn more about international recruitment, contact Director of Transfer and International Recruitment Elvin Browne at 800.362.0014 or or visit


King University is a Presbyterian, doctoral-level comprehensive university.  Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities.  Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing.  A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available.  King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity athletic teams.  For more information about King University, visit  King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability.  King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia.  For more information on SCHEV, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.