As you read this, I am in Japan to honor UW-Eau Claire’s strongest international exchange partner there: Kansai Gaidai University.
At the invitation of Kansai Gaidai, I am participating in the 70th anniversary celebration of the university. I accepted this invitation because of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s extraordinary relationship — dating back to 1979 — with Kansai Gaidai. It is appropriate that I am making my first international trip as chancellor to honor this valued partner. I also am extremely grateful that Kansai Gaidai is paying for my airfare, hotel expenses and transportation during my stay.
Some 28 universities from the United States and 16 other countries are participating in the celebration, and I am deeply honored to be one of only three representatives selected to make remarks on behalf of their university. My invitation to provide remarks reflects the deep and rich history between UW-Eau Claire and Kansai Gaidai.
I’ve been pleased to be an active part of that rich history. Just short of a year into my chancellorship, in June 2014, I was honored to welcome Dr. Eiko Tanimoto, president of the Kansai Gaidai University Board of Trustees, to UW-Eau Claire. During her visit, I learned that her daughter, Professor Kazuko Tanimoto, had studied with us at UW-Eau Claire during the 1988-89 academic year via our exchange program with Kansai Gaidai. Our tradition of welcoming Kansai Gaidai students through that exchange program continues today. In the photo above, I’m pictured with seven of the Kansai Gaidai students here at UW-Eau Claire this semester.
Since 1979, more than 650 students have participated in the Kansai Gaidai University-UW-Eau Claire exchange partnership. This partnership is a shining example of ways we are achieving our milepost goal to have each and every Blugold student participate in at least one high-impact experience, such as study abroad, prior to graduation.
We also value the opportunities the exchange has provided for our faculty. Eleven members of our faculty have spent time learning, teaching and conducting research at Kansai Gaidai, which has enriched their professional development and has been an important component of the ongoing internationalization of UW-Eau Claire.
Also during my time in Japan, I will meet with UW-Eau Claire alumni to renew acquaintances and strengthen connections. I am grateful to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation for paying the expenses for that portion of the trip.
UW-Eau Claire is recognized nationally for the strength of our study abroad and international exchange programs — and there is no better example than our relationship with Kansai Gaidai University, a global leader in international study. It is important that we continue to nurture our tradition of vibrant and varied international experiences.
Photo caption: Chancellor James Schmidt was photographed recently with Kansai Gaidai University students studying at UW-Eau Claire during the fall 2015 semester. Pictured (from left) are Yume Oshita, Yuina Tanaka, Kyoko Nakakubo, Kazunori Yanagimoto, Chancellor Schmidt, Takuhiro Higuchi, Misaki Shinkuma and Miki Arata.