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Rose-Hulman Celebrates 20-Year Exchange with Japan’s Kanazawa Institute of Technology

October 23, 2012

by Dale Long
Director of Media Relations


Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology celebrated its 20-year exchange partnership with Japan's Kanazawa Institute of Technology through a series of events on October 19-20 that offered reflection, education, and entertainment.

      KIT dinner

Celebrating International Partnership: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology President Robert A. Coons welcomed the 19 delegates from Japan's Kanazawa Institute of Technology and members of the Japan-America Society of Indiana at a dinner on October 19 at the Indiana History Center in downtown Indianapolis.

A 19-member delegation of KIT administrators and educators visited campus, Terre Haute, and Indianapolis during the two-day trip. Leading the visiting group is the institute's president, Ken-ichi Ishikawa.

Featured events were the dedication of a cherry tree grove, several educational workshops, a dinner in Indianapolis with members of the Japan-America Society of Indiana, and a special musical concert on campus.

Kanazawa Institute of Technology (KIT) is one of Japan's leading educational institutions, specializing in developing engineers that contribute to engineering innovation while remaining flexible to the future advancement of science and technology. It was started as Hokuriku Dempa School in 1957, became Kanazawa Technical College in 1962 and was established as KIT in 1965.

Rose-Hulman is among 14 international universities in which KIT has engaged in student exchange programs. Students expand their global horizons by learning Japanese on campus, and then taking a semester of language and culture courses in Japan. Rose-Hulman faculty members have also spent sabbaticals to teach at KIT, and the exchange has even extended to athletics as Rose-Hulman's basketball and baseball teams have travelled for exhibition games against KIT and other Japanese teams.

"We value our relationship with Rose-Hulman, which is an institution that shares our values in undergraduate education among engineering and the sciences," stated Ishikawa. "I have always been impressed with Rose-Hulman's facilities, and the quality of its faculty, staff, and students."

The visiting KIT delegation continued to learn more about Rose-Hulman by visiting Rose-Hulman Ventures and participated in a workshop on inverted classroom techniques, being led by Rose-Hulman faculty members. In return, the KIT educators hosted a session on its state-of-the-art Yumekoho Laboratory, the "Factory of Dreams," which several Rose-Hulman officials visited earlier this year.

"In our 20-year relationship with KIT, we have sent more than 300 faculty, staff, students, and family members to visit KIT, and in the future we hope to send even more," stated Rose-Hulman President Robert A. Coons.

The cherry tree grove will be a permanent landmark to showcase the Rose-Hulman-KIT partnership, according to Coons. It is located near the White Chapel on the west side of campus, and contains 40 trees-symbolic of each year in the partnership for both colleges. The cherry tree is an exalted flowering plant in Japan, and the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.

KIT signing       
Extending Exchange Program: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology President Robert A. Coons and Kanazawa Institute of Technology President Ken-ichi Ishikawa signed agreements that extend the 20-year educational exchange program between the two engineering and science institutions


"Cherry trees are a wonderful symbol of our friendship with Kanazawa Institute of Technology," stated Coons. "I hope the relationship between our leading institutions will continue to blossom and bear fruit, and that we'll develop ever stronger roots of friendship in the future."

Coons noted that a Japanese native, Taro Tsuji, earned Rose-Hulman's first master's degree in engineering in 1892, after receiving his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the college in 1890. He returned to Japan in 1901 and became the Engineer of the Imperial Government Railroads in 1903, playing a pivotal role as the head of the Japanese railroads during the Russian-Japanese war. His foresight and innovation helped develop the Japanese rail system, which today is the best in the world.

The anniversary festivities concluded with a special concert by internationally acclaimed performer, Shunsuke Kimura, in Rose-Hulman's Hatfield Hall Theater. He used traditional Japanese and western musical instruments in a show, titled "Insho," that told a variety of nostalgic stories that express the poetic image in nature, scenery, and seasons with delicate nuance of color and sounds.

Listen to the wonderful sounds of Shunsuke's "Insho" show, courtesy of Terre Haute television station, WTHI-TV.