HATTIESBURG, MISS. (THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI) – Although he lives and works halfway around the world, Kaetsu University Vice-President Ryuichi Himori is working with officials at The University of Southern Mississippi to shrink that distance.
Himori made his first visit to Hattiesburg and the Southern Miss campus during the weekend of May 14-16. He was accompanied by Simon Clay, associate professor in the Kaetsu College of Management and Economics. Himori was introduced as a member of the platform party during the Southern Miss Centennial Commencement on Saturday, May 15 at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
"This has been a very pleasant experience for me," said Himori, who joined Tokyo-based Kaetsu University in 2008 after serving in several capacities for the Yamaha Corp. "Everyone here has been very hospitable and most helpful. The primary goal of our trip here is to find ways to strengthen the relationship we have with the University of Southern Mississippi."
The Southern Miss-Kaetsu connection dates back to 1989 when former economics professor Eddie Lewis visited the Japanese university in conjunction with the Asian Studies Program. Three years later a group of Kaetsu students visited Southern Miss as part of their study-abroad experience. In 1994 President Kaetsu toured the Southern Miss campus. The following year Southern Miss President Aubrey Lucas visited Tokyo and signed an agreement of understanding and cooperation linking the two universities.
Dr. David Duhon, chair of the Department of Management and International Business at Southern Miss, said the partnership with Kaetsu provides limitless opportunities for both academic institutions.
"International programs are some of the most important, most rewarding things we do here at Southern Miss," said Duhon. "This past January one of our professors, Dr. Jennifer Sequeira, visited Kaetsu for research on Japanese women entrepreneurs. One of the things we hope to do is develop more faculty and student exchanges between these fine universities over the next few years."
Kaetsu University is actually one component of the Kaetsu organization which also includes a preschool, middle school and high school. Founded originally as a women's junior college, Kaetsu University emerged in 2001 as a four-year co-educational institution.
Clay noted that since forming an official partnership with Southern Miss in 1995, dozens of Kaetsu students have come to the Hattiesburg campus to study full-time as part of the distinguished English Language Institute. From those numbers, 13 returned to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and 11 completed the degree requirements.
"Just recently we instituted our graduate program at Kaetsu and we wanted to take the opportunity while we're here at Southern Miss to get some ideas about administering that program," said Clay, who has served on the Kaetsu faculty for 16 years. "Furthermore, we are using this visit to broaden our relationship with the College of Business and discuss ways to make the partnership even stronger."
For more information about the Department of Management and International Business at Southern Miss call 601-266-4659 or visit www.usm.edu/business/departments/management_intbus.php