I would like to express my sincere congratulations to Temple University, Japan Campus, on the occasion of its 30th anniversary. Reaching this significant milestone is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the thousands of faculty and staff who have worked at TUJ over the years. It also reflects the unwavering, far-sighted commitment of Temple University to build a unique educational institution in Japan, often in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds.
It was truly an honor for me to serve as TUJ's dean for six years (2002-2007). It really was, for me, the ideal job! I felt privileged to be able to support the realization of the goals and dreams of TUJ's students and to further strengthen TUJ's foundation so that it can continue to satisfy diverse educational needs for many decades to come.
A highlight of my time at TUJ was the annual graduation ceremony. I was always moved to see the graduates walk across the stage, knowing how hard they had worked to get to that day and realizing the difference that TUJ had made in their lives. And I always enjoyed meeting the graduates' family members. In one memorable conversation, the mother of a graduate said, "When my first daughter said she wanted to study at TUJ, I refused to support her, saying that I would only pay her tuition if she went to a Japanese university. But she went to TUJ anyway, paying her own way, and I was so impressed by the excellent education she received that I told my second daughter that I would only pay her tuition if she studied at TUJ."
The excellence of TUJ is best reflected in its alumni. Our alumni are working – and succeeding – around the world in various professions, demonstrating the critical-thinking skills, cross-cultural communication ability, and diligence that are the hallmarks of a TUJ education.
Beyond the special contribution TUJ makes to its students, TUJ is also important because it is pioneering a new model in transborder education. Where many others have tried and failed, TUJ has demonstrated how an overseas branch campus can offer a broad range of degree and non-degree programs, maintain high academic standards, serve both local and foreign students, and be financially viable. Everybody who has been involved in TUJ's growth and development over the past 30 years can take pride in their contributions to TUJ's success.
I have no doubt that TUJ will continue to thrive and prosper, helping more and more students achieve their educational objectives. TUJ's future is bright. The best is yet to come.
Kirk has retired in his native Canada, preparing for his sailing trip to Japan. He will be sailing around the country from June 2012 for about one year, expecting to be in the Tokyo area in spring 2013. He looks forward to meeting TUJ alumni and past/present faculty and staff.