On June 9, 2017, the annual Asian Languages & Literature convocation and awards ceremony marked the passing of another successful year for the department. Featured front and center were the accomplishments of the department’s graduating students, including the conferral of the Bachelor of Arts degree upon 14 Chinese majors, 25 Japanese majors, 7 Korean majors and 3 South Asian majors. In addition, a large group of graduate students earned their degrees in Japanese, Chinese, and South Asian languages and literature. The Master of Arts degree was conferred upon Ross Henderson, Harumi Maeda, Shuheng Zhang, Fei Zhao, and Xi Zhu. Candidate for Doctor of Philosophy status was granted to Christopher Diamond, Zhinan Chen, and Man Zhang. Genoveva Castro, Sarah Clayton, Joseph Marino III, Michael Skinner, and Yingying Sun all received the Doctor of Philosophy degree, marking the culmination of many years of hard work.
Headlining the event was the keynote address from Samuel Shepherd, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Japan International Christian University Foundation. Mr. Shepherd has served in various capacities for the local organization Associates in Cultural Exchange, as the President of the National Association of Japan-America Societies, and as the executive director of the Japan-United States Educational Commission. Among his many honors, Mr. Shepherd was decorated by the Emperor of Japan in 2010 with the Order of the Rising Sun, in recognition of his work to strengthen US-Japan relations through educational exchanges and the internationalization of education in Japan. Mr. Shepherd’s speech detailed his lifelong encounters with Korea and Japan, and encouraged students to maintain their language skills after leaving the department through practice, engagement, community and constant reading. His speech served as a point of encouragement to the graduating students, as it showed the many opportunities afforded by a life lived in multiple languages.
A number of awards were granted upon students who demonstrated exceptional learning, teaching, and achievement over the school year. Graduate students Nathaniel Bond and Zhinan Chen received Distinguished Teaching Assistant Awards for their skill and dedication in teaching language classes. The Scott Swaner Memorial Book Award was presented to undergraduates Natasha Humayun and Isa Thompson. The Henry S. Tatsumi Award was presented to Zeke Stanislaus Hill, Suyoung Kim, and Ching Yi Hayley Tung. Finally, the Turrell V. Wylie Memorial Scholarship Award was presented to Joseph Marino III in honor of his distinguished doctoral dissertation.
A lively reception filled with food, drink, and conversation followed the ceremony, wrapping up the 2016-2017 academic year.