Our History

International Friends was founded in 1952 by George Lee Garner Harvill, wife of University of Arizona President Richard A. Harvill, and a group of women from Tucson. At the time, there were just 63 international students at the University. The fledgling group was first called Families for International Friendship. The organization grew slowly through the years, relying on small donations from a variety of local individuals and organizations.

International Friends became an Arizona corporation in 2004 and also received official 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS. This, along with the support and encouragement of international students, community hosts, and board members, provides a solid foundation for the future.

International Friends Board

The all-volunteer board is composed of past and present hosts, international students, and an ex-officio representative from the UA International Student Services office. Board meetings are held five times a year to evaluate the program and plan events.

By LawsLetter from Co-Chairs


DateStart TimeEnd TimeEventLocation
Jun 27, 20195:30 PMBoard MeetingISS Office
Aug 24, 201910:00 AM2:00 PMWelcome LuncheonFirst United Methodist Church
Sep 14, 2019TBANew Host OrientationTucson Visitor's Center
Sep 16, 20195:30 PMBoard MeetingISS Office
Sep 29, 201912:00 PMFall PicnicReid Park
Oct 20, 20191:45 PMBiosphere TourBiosphere 2
Oct 26, 201910:00 AM4:00 AMAmerind Fall Festival
Nov 12, 20197:00 PM9:00 PMInternational Students Talent ShowStevie Eller Dance Theater
Nov 19, 2019TBAPresidio Living History Day
Dec 2, 20195:30 PMBoard MeetingISS Office
Jan 12, 2020TBAWelcome BrunchTucson Visitor's Center
Feb 23, 202012:00 PM2:00 PMRodeo Picnic
Mar 2, 20205:30 PMAnnual Board MeetingISS Office
Apr 11, 2020TBADesert Museum TourDesert Museum
Apr 18, 2020TBAPlanning Meeting

Board Members

Patricia Gilman


Randy Spalding


Pam Obando


Robert Woerner


Jody Friend

Community Member

Pamela Harlan

Community Member

Rachel Ivanyi

Community Member

LuAnn Haley

Community Member

Michelle Morden

Community Member

Gaurav Deshpande

Community Member

Momoka Sugimura

Student Representative

Siyu Wang

Student Representative

Francisco Villegas

Student Representative

Youhao Wei

Technical Advisor

Sylvia Ahanonu

ISS Liason