Mitsui & Co. Strengthens Dartmouth Partnership with New Endowed Professorship


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Tokyo-based Mitsui & Co., Ltd., one of the world’s most diversified comprehensive trading, investment, and service companies, will create a professorship in Japanese studies with a $3 million dollar gift to Dartmouth.

The Mitsui Endowed Professor will be awarded to a faculty member whose scholarship has contributed significantly to the advancement of interdisciplinary knowledge of the history, politics, economics, or sociology of modern Japan.

At a July 13 signing ceremony held in the Baker Library’s 1902 Room, President Jim Yong Kim told representatives of Mitsui and the College, “This professorship formally recognizes the unique connection between Mitsui and Dartmouth and honors our shared commitment to education and international understanding. The long history between Mitsui and Dartmouth, and our similar focus on tradition and innovation, have made possible this opportunity for partnership.”

In his remarks, Mitsui president and CEO Masami Iijima said, “Through the establishment of the Mitsui Endowed Professorship, we sincerely hope students will acquire deep knowledge of and interest in Japan, and help strengthen and develop ties between the United States and Japan. We are excited to be able to support this wonderful cause, and to know that the Mitsui Endowed Professorship shall exist in perpetuity on this beautiful campus.”

Mitsui’s history at Dartmouth goes back to Takanaga Mitsui, Class of 1915. When, as an undergraduate far from home, Takanaga contracted acute appendicitis, then-President Ernest Fox Nichols and his wife helped him receive medical treatment—and hosted a delegation of top Japanese diplomats, including the consul general and Japanese minister, who came to make sure the heir to the Mitsui zaibatsu was in good hands. The Mitsui family sent President Nichols a temple bell as a token of their gratitude. Two of Takanaga’s sons, Takanobu and Mamoru, graduated in 1943 and 1958, respectively (the story of Takanobu’s experience at Dartmouth following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor was published in the November/December 2010 issue of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine).

Starting in the late 1950s, Mitsui & Co. sent nine “special students” to study at Dartmouth for one year. Former Mitsui president and CEO and current chairman Shoei Utsuda came to Dartmouth in 1969 as the last of this original group of special students. More recently, in that tradition, an additional eight Mitsui employees have had the opportunity to study for one year at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and then complete a yearlong internship in an American corporation.

According to Michael Mastanduno, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the search for the inaugural holder of the Mitsui Endowed Professorship will begin this fall. “The Mitsui Professorship will strengthen our international curriculum by creating new interdisciplinary collaborations in the social sciences specifically within Japanese studies, and, more broadly, across East Asian studies,” Mastanduno said.

Mitsui & Co., Ltd., maintains a global network of 155 offices in 67 countries, as well as nearly 450 subsidiaries and associated companies worldwide, multilaterally pursuing business that ranges from product sales, worldwide logistics and financing, the development of major international infrastructure, and other projects in iron and steel products, mineral and metal resources, infrastructure projects, motor vehicles, marine and aerospace, chemicals, energy, foods and retail, consumer services, information, electronics and telecommunications, financial markets, and transportation logistics.

Founded in 1769, Dartmouth College has forged a singular identity as a strong undergraduate and graduate College with three leading professional schools—of business, engineering, and medicine. Classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a “research university with very high research activity,” Dartmouth, a member of the Ivy League, consistently ranks among the world’s greatest academic institutions, yet in size, temperament, warmth, and abiding commitment to teaching, it remains a true college. With 4,200 undergraduates and 1,700 graduate students, Dartmouth attends to community, fostering powerful and enduring bonds. The College’s size and setting confer an intimacy that it uses to its advantage, as students are active partners in the learning experience, and faculty collaborate and innovate across disciplines.

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