From Ina to BSC
Posted on February 25, 2009
Faculty and Staff
, deputy manager, Policy Planning Section in Ina, Japan; and Ken-ya Hiraga
, director of Ina Public Libraries, visited the town of Bridgewater and the college for three days during the week of Feb. 9.
Ina is the birthplace of Shuji Isawa
, who graduated from the college in 1877 and is among Bridgewater's most renowned alumni. Upon his return to Japan -- after he went on to earn a degree from Harvard -- he became a leading advocate for improving education, and is credited with helping establish the public school system in that country.
The visit was arranged by Dr. Wing-Kai To
, professor of history and coordinator of the college's Asian Studies Program.
"I'm very pleased to welcome two gentlemen from Ina City in Japan to Bridgewater State College," said Dr. To, at a program held on Wednesday morning, Feb. 11, in the Maxwell Library. "Our guests had a very productive day yesterday visiting with town officials in Bridgewater and today they are here to meet with faculty and staff who are working on international programs in general and on programs with Japan in particular."
In addition to greetings from Dr. To, the program featured remarks from Dr. Thomas Turner
, professor of history, who has done extensive research the life of Mr. Isawa.
Professor Minae Savas
, assistant professor of foreign languages at BSC, provided translation services.
A day earlier, Mr. Shigemori and Mr. Hiraga had a tour of cultural, historical and business sites in town, led by David Moore
, building inspector for the town of Bridgewater and chairman of the Bridgewater Historical Commission.
Later that day a luncheon was held at the college with Selectmen Chairman Herb Lemon
'69; BSC President Dana Mohler-Faria
and other local officials, followed by a welcome ceremony at the Memorial Building with presentations by town staff. Dinner with the members of the town's board of selectmen followed.
Tuesday evening, the delegation addressed selectmen at their weekly meeting.Rebecca Hyman
, a journalist for a local newspaper, wrote an account of the meeting.
"As part of his research, Dr. To has traveled to Isawa's birthplace in Ina, met with a fourth-generation descendent of Isawa's and attended the Isawa Music Festival in Japan in 2007," she reported.
Last August, the selectmen of Bridgewater voted unanimously to seek to form a sister city relationship with Ina, and Ms. Hyman noted that town officials are pursuing a $30,000 grant to fund an exchange program allowing Bridgewater-Raynham High School students to visit Ina City with chaperones.
Dr. To announced at the Wednesday morning meeting that this coming August a group of students from Ina will come to the Boston area for ten days. "We hope there will be many more exchanges in the future," he said. (Story and photo by David K. Wilson, '71, Office of Institutional Communications)