May 11, 2007
Akiko Shimada, president of Bunkyo Gakuin University in Bunkyo-ku, Toyko, Japan, receives a Presidential Citation from Saint John’s University May 24.
The presentation, which honors Shimada for her extraordinary contributions to higher learning and her profound commitment to international education, understanding and goodwill, takes place during the Saint John’s Sesquicentennial Celebration in Tokyo. The citation will be presented by Br. Dietrich Reinhart, OSB, president of SJU.
Also part of the program will be Joe DesJardins, interim academic dean and associate provost at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University; and David Bennetts, professor of history at CSB/SJU and founder, with Shimada, of the relationship between CSB/SJU and Bunkyo Gakuin. Several members of the SJU Board of Regents, CSB/SJU faculty and administrators will also be part of the delegation.
The collaborative agreement between Bunkyo Gakuin and CSB/SJU has been in existence for almost 20 years. Bunkyo Gakuin has sent students to CSB/SJU every summer to study English and American culture. The school hosts CSB/SJU’s study abroad Japan program, and there is a faculty exchange program. Two CSB/SJU graduate students are hired annually to spend a year working at Bunko Gakuin University.
The presentation also honors Shimada for her warm hospitality, noting that she has provided CSB/SJU students “a place and means to befriend your students and professors, (and) you have been an active participant in the process.”
Under Shimada’s leadership, Bunkyo Gakuin has grown from a junior college for women to a university for women to a coeducational university, in 2005.
Shimada has received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Waseda University. Her academic specialties are professional ethics and Japanese feminism. She has been president of Bunkyo Gakuin University since 1990, and is also chair of the Board of Trustees of Bunkyo Gakuen Educational Foundation, an educational enterprise that includes two university campuses, a junior and senior high school, a medical technology school and a pre-school/kindergarten.