Alumni

Technically, he didn’t emigrate from Lebanon as an ambassador of goodwill, but it’s hard to describe the experience of Abdullah “Abby” Mina, R’67, otherwise.

After living with relatives in Newport News, Virginia, Mina enrolled at Richmond, where he took on a litany of extracurriculars, such as president of the Philologian Literary Society, columnist for The Collegian, and editor-in-chief of The Messenger, the university’s literary magazine, among other leadership positions.

“I found myself gravitating toward a lot of activities, student government,” Mina said. “I must have been a social animal or something.”

It's essentially my nature to bring people together.

One of Mina’s favorite topics is patriotism, something he wrote about in this publication’s fall 1961 issue. His encouragement of fellow international students to immerse themselves in American culture impressed the Richmond Times-Dispatch enough that it highlighted his quest to spread the gospel of his adopted country.

“I just had good feelings about America, and I wanted everybody to know,” he said. “I don’t know why it didn’t take me very long to adjust, but I found that the students and the people in general — let’s refer to it as Southern hospitality — were so nice.”

After graduation, Mina settled in Cleveland, where he worked as a marketing consultant for Blue Cross and Blue Shield. His reputation in the city was forged through his 21-year run as host of the Arabic Radio Program on Cleveland State University’s radio station and through four terms as president of the Cleveland American Middle East Organization.

On the air and in the community, Mina appealed to other Middle Eastern immigrants, urging them to become citizens and take part in American life.

“It’s essentially my nature to bring people together,” he said. “And that was one way to do it: Teach them English, get them to be involved in the political process, and appreciate it.”