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Japanese university honors emeritus professor

March 17, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Josai University in Saitama, Japan, granted an honorary doctorate this past fall to Michitoshi Soga, professor emeritus in physics at Western Michigan University.

Soga and his wife, Ryoko, attended Josai's Sept. 30 commencement to accept the degree, which was presented by WMU alumnus and Josai Professor Yoshiaki Ryu, director of the Josai University International Education Center.

"Since 1968, Dr. Soga has welcomed Japanese exchange students in Kalamazoo and has worked to established relationships with a number of Japanese universities," said Ryu, who earned a master's degree in economics from WMU in 1977. "Moreover, he has worked to build a network of friendships throughout the western Michigan area with Japanese businesses and visitors. He was also instrumental in founding the Battle Creek Japanese School."

Soga joined the WMU physics faculty in 1968. He transitioned to a half-time teaching load in 1986 while serving half time as an administrative officer for the Office of International Affairs. In 1993, he retired from teaching and worked full-time in the international office until his retirement from the University three years later.

Throughout his 28-year career, Soga worked tirelessly to build relationships and linkages in Japan. He has made a lasting impact on the University by setting up programs with Japanese universities, hosting Japanese students attending WMU and helping to build a Japanese alumni network.

His legacy of bridge-building between his native land and Kalamazoo was recognized in 2006 with the founding of the Michitoshi Soga Japan Center. Housed in the Haenicke Institute for Global Education, the center strengthens WMU's Japan-related study, research and relationships, as well as serves as a community resource. Many of the University's Japanese alumni were instrumental in helping establish the facility and traveled to campus to celebrate its opening.

For more about the Soga Japan Center, go to www.wmich.edu/sogajapancenter.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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