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Reverend Doctor Masanobu Fukamachi at Commencement 2008

Reverend Doctor Masanobu Fukamachi at Commencement 2008
May 23, 2008 |
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Commencement 2008

Reverend Doctor Masanobu Fukamachi, Chancellor, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan

Reverend Doctor Masanobu Fukamachi - Commencement Address

President Sanford J. Ungar
Honorable Chair of Goucher College’s Board of Trustees,

I wish to express to you my deepest appreciation for inviting me and Professor Reedy to attend Goucher College’s graduation ceremony and for bestowing on me an honorary doctor’s degree. My heart is filled with true joy and gratitude. I am sincerely grateful to Mr. Ungar and Ms. Michiko Mitarai, who is now one of the board members of Goucher College. As you know, she graduated from Goucher College and is one of the excellent leaders of Japanese society.

On November 15, 2002, we invited the chair of Board of Trustees of Goucher College, Marilyn S. Warshawsky, and others. At that time, she gave us a message at the Goucher Memorial Chapel of Aoyama Gakuin University. The title of her message was “John Franklin Goucher, a man of faith and vision.” Following her inspiring speech, we engaged in a discussion about the management of our institutions. Subsequently, in 2004 Mr. Ungar came to our campus and concluded the international exchange program between Goucher College and Aoyama Gakuin. Today I am pleased to announce that an Aoyama Gakuin student is coming to Goucher College as the first exchange student this fall.

It is my heartfelt desire that this occasion will lead to more opportunities for exchanges between the faculty and students of Aoyama Gakuin and Goucher College. For that reason, I would like to introduce Professor Reedy, a prominent leader of the International Exchange Center of Aoyama Gakuin, who is present today.

Aoyama Gakuin traces its roots back to 1874 when Miss Dora E. Schoonmaker, a 23-year-old teacher from New York, came to Japan as a missionary commissioned by the Methodist Episcopal Church. She was interested in the Christian education of young children in Japan, which had emerged as a new nation following the Meiji Restoration in 1868. With the assistance of Dr. Julius Soper, one of the first Methodist missionaries in Japan, and Mr. Sen Tsuda, a Japanese Christian leader, Miss Schoonmaker gathered seven children in a rented house in the Azabu area of Tokyo. This small group was the humble beginning of the Christian school that later became Aoyama Gakuin. The first chancellor, Dr. Robert S. Maclay, was also sent to Japan by the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Rev. Goucher was best friends with Dr. Maclay. To support his mission to Japan through Dr. Maclay, Rev. Goucher sent large sums of money for Aoyama Gakuin. Moreover, when the great Kanto Earthquake occurred in 1923 and destroyed many of the school buildings at Aoyama Gakuin, Rev. Goucher sent more donations to Aoyama Gakuin through Dr. Soper.

One of the buildings that was destroyed was Goucher Hall, the symbol of Aoyama Gakuin at the time. However, during an archaeological dig that took place recently to complement a project to rebuild the university facilities, the foundation of Goucher Hall was discovered. Since we had assumed that the foundation had been totally demolished by the great Kanto Earthquake and World War II, this has, indeed, been an exciting discovery for us. Today it is a great honor for me to present Goucher College with a brick that was excavated from the original site of Goucher Hall built in 1906. May this be a reminder of Rev. Goucher’s world vision, as well as our friendship, shared mission of educating students, raising international consciousness, and promoting intercultural competency.

Looking toward the 21st century, Aoyama Gakuin resolves to fulfill its mission as an institution of higher education for the betterment of countries around the world. May God bless Goucher College, all its activities, and all of you attending here now.

Thank you very much.

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