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Fletcher Grad Leads Japanese School

Fletcher Grad Leads Japanese SchoolBruceStronach is breaking new ground as the first foreigner to becomepresident at a Japanese public university.Medford/Somerville,Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [04.22.05] American Bruce Stronach, a 54-year-old graduate ofthe Fletcher School with a background in higher education in bothJapan and the United States, has assumed the presidency of YokohamaCity University (YCU) – the first foreigner to head oneof Japan's public universities.

"Thefact that I'm here is an indication of how much things have changedin Japan over the 29 years since I first arrived," Stronachtold the Daily Yomiuri.

The move tohire Stronach came as YCU became an independent administrativeinstitution, allowing it more independence in decision making.His appointment, while surprising to some, has been warmly received.

"I feela kind of responsibility for other foreign professionals in Japan,and also I feel a responsibility to Japanese people as well,"Stronach told the Daily Yomiuri.

While studyinginternational relations at Fletcher in 1976, Stronach traveledto Japan as a visiting researcher for a project run jointly withKeio University.

In the 1990s,he taught at the International University of Japan in NiigataPrefecture. Until this spring, he served as acting president ofBecker College in Massachusetts.

Stronach hopesto make YCU a beacon among institutions of higher education inJapan.

"Thecity of Yokohama is seen in the rest of Japan as being a verymodern city," he told the Daily Yomiuri. "Ithink it's very fitting that the city university is a leader inuniversity reform."

Stronach aimsto boost recruiting efforts, create greater academic flexibilityfor students and shake up the notion of what a university presidentin Japan can do. One of his proposals is having a "President'sTable" in the cafeteria where he will hold weekly lunchtimediscussions with students.

"I'dlike to make this a place where we can freely discuss any kindof topic. Let's create our new university together," theFletcher graduate said in his opening speech, according to theDaily Yomiuri.

Stronach alsohopes the attention to his appointment will draw new studentsto the institution.

"I'mhoping that next year applicants will say, 'Oh, look, they havethis guy as the president. That's so interesting. That's the placeI want to be,'" he said.



















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