ICU Confers an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, on Senator John Davison Rockefeller, IV
On Friday, March 15 ICU President Junko Hibiya conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, on Senator John Davison Rockefeller, IV. The ceremony was held at the Old Ambassador’s Residence at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Left to Right: ICU President Junko Hibiya, Senator John D. Rockefeller, IV and Ambassador Shinsuke J. Sugiyama
His Excellency Shinsuke J. Sugiyama, Ambassador of Japan to the United States, made gracious welcome remarks. JICUF Executive Director Paul Hastings also provided short welcome remarks and JICUF Trustee Delores Roeder spoke about her experience studying at ICU in 1960-61. ICU President Junko Hibiya then made remarks and conferred the degree on Senator Rockefeller.
In heartfelt remarks, Senator Rockefeller spoke of the impact studying at ICU and living in Japan had on his life and career choices, and the importance of intercultural exchange. Guests in attendance included members of Senator Rockefeller’s family, former staff colleagues, friends, and JICUF trustees.
Senator Rockefeller studied at Harvard College for three years before moving to Japan in 1957. He studied Japanese and also taught English over a three-year period, before returning to graduate from Harvard.
Statement from Senator Rockefeller
I am pleased to accept this honorary doctorate degree from International Christian University and sincerely thank the ICU community.
Japan is an important ally of the United States and has been a true passion of mine. As both a student and an adult, I feel very close to Japan as did my parents who traveled there virtually every year.
When I was at Harvard and likely to go abroad, I consulted Dr. Edwin Reischauer, who counseled me to go to ICU, and I agreed to do that.
ICU is a remarkable and highly respected institution and one that inspired me to work hard. I felt very much at home there. As a student, I quickly came to respect the rigor of their academic effort. I worked very hard on the Kanji. I appreciate the hard work that the Japanese devote to education, which helps to prepare them in life.
ICU is the first educational institution of its kind in Japan and very rapidly became one of the universities of higher learning that encouraged diversity while requiring that one could not graduate from ICU without being bilingual and speaking Japanese.
My experience at ICU encompassed me to think internationally and taught me that the United States is part of a larger world. That influence has continued to this day. It was my first experience with another country, and it broadened my horizons and played a huge role in my life progression. It opened thoughts of a life of public service to me, and for that I am eternally grateful.