Dr. William Coleman Furthers Mount Union?s Asian Initiative

April 06, 2010

Dr. William Coleman, professor of communication and assistant to the president for diversity affairs, recently had the opportunity to visit Japan, accompanied by Harold Hall, former director of international admissions.

Dr. Coleman presenting the Kurose Peace Award to Mr. Shinichiro Kurose, Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Trustees, Hiroshima Jogakuin.

'The purpose of our trip was threefold,' said Coleman. 'We wanted to meet with former exchange students and alumni in the three major cities of Tokyo, Osaka and Hiroshima to begin an alumni network, to meet with officials of our sister institutions -- Baika Women's University and Hiroshima Jogakuin University -- to discuss scholarships and maintain our relationships and to introduce the International House concept that Mount Union will be moving toward in the fall of 2008.'

Many of the dozens of students Coleman met with were alumni while some were one-year exchange students. 'Our goal was to begin organizing our former Japanese students so they can network with each other, assist us in recruiting new students and help us develop internships for our current students,' explained Coleman.

This initiative ties in with Mount Union's mission. In recent years, China, India, Japan and other Asian countries have become powerful players in world economies and politics. 'Understanding and appreciating Asian values and perspectives is becoming increasingly important for our students,' said Coleman. 'As a College, we must expand our exploration of Asia both in the curriculum and programmatically. As an educational institution concerned with preparing our students for leading meaningful lives, we must begin serious efforts to 'connect' with Asia.'

Coleman also visited with faculty and administrators at Baika Women's University, Mount Union's sister college in Osaka. He also spoke to first year students majoring in the Department of Global English.

In Hiroshima, Coleman spent time at Jogakuin High School and University with Shinichiro Kurose, Chancellor and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Hiroshima Jogakuin. In honor of the 40th anniversary of the Murakami scholarship, Coleman presented a plaque to the high school commemorating the occasion.

The Murakami Scholarship is named for Yoshino Murakami, a graduate of Hiroshima Jogakuin High School who, in 1952, traveled by steamship for more than two months to the United States to began her collegiate studies at Mount Union. She was the first Japanese student admitted to the College after World War II.

Pictured: Dr. Coleman seated with Harold Hall, followed by Noriko Suzuki, Keiko Miyahara (Class of 2008) and offficials at Hiroshima Jogakuin University and High School

Upon graduating from Mount, Yoshino studied at The Ohio State University where she met and eventually married Charles Nichols in 1958. Shortly after the birth of their son, Yoshino became seriously ill with cancer, resulting from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. She died in 1966 at age 32.

As a Mount Union student, Yoshino was a well-liked, outgoing presence on campus. She made such a positive impact that the College created a scholarship to honor her and to establish a lasting friendship with the high school that played such a prominent role in her life. It was decided that every four years a student from that school would be given a full-tuition scholarship to Mount Union. The first scholarship was awarded in 1968.

In addition, in honor of Kurose's dedication to that same school, a new scholarship has been created by Mount Union for qualified Jogakuin High School students and will be called the 'Shinichiro Kurose Peace Award' ' in honor of Kurose who has been a friend of the College and one of Japan's leading educators for many years.

While at Hiroshima, Coleman and Hall were also given a tour of the Peace Memorial and Museum by the current Murakami scholarship holder, Keiko Miyahara.

According to Coleman, his favorite part of the trip was meeting with former students and meeting their spouses and children. 'I also loved Hiroshima,' he added. 'It's a city where the peace movement is central to everyone's thinking. I was very impressed with the faculty of Hiroshima Jogakuin and their values.'

He said the most challenging part of the trip was the lengthy flight. 'Other than that,' said Coleman, 'the trip was wonderful: the people were extremely friendly and helpful; the food was fantastic; the culture is so deep and rich; the architecture, the temples, the country side were majestic and beautiful; the sprit of the Japanese people and culture is enriching to the Westerner and is something everyone should have the privilege of experiencing.'

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