UMass Amherst Symposium Celebrates International Education and the Legacy of William Clark Smith

AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst is holding a symposium celebrating 150 years of international education and the legacy of the university’s third president, William Clark Smith, one of the founders of Hokkaido University in Japan. The event takes place Friday, Oct. 18 from 1-4 p.m. in Sycamore Hall in the Commonwealth Honors College complex. The event is free and open to the public.

Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy, Provost James V. Staros and Vice Provost Jack Ahern will be hosting a series of events to commemorate the long history of international education at UMass Amherst. In addition, a delegation of dignitaries from Japan will attend and participate, including Shoichi Fujita, professor emeritus at Hokkaido University, and keynote speaker at the symposium. Fujita’s talk is titled, “Dr. W. S. Clark and the Influence of his Educational Philosophy on Japanese Education.”

Other guests from Japan include Hideki Takahashi, vice-director of the Hokkaido University Museum, and Keiichi Akaishi, lecturer at Nihon University in Tokyo, a scholar of William Penn Brooks, who will be on campus to do research on Brooks at the Du Bois Library.

A key focus of the event is Clark. He was the president of Massachusetts Agricultural College from 1867-1879. He was an Amherst College graduate, Civil War veteran and a teacher of botany and horticulture at the fledging MAC. He is best known as one of the founders of Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, where in the course of an eight-month leave of absence from MAC, he introduced American plant species and in turn brought many Japanese specimens here. His parting words to students, “Boys, be ambitious,” still make him famous in Japan.

After the formal introduction and keynote speech, there will be two faculty panel sessions. The first, “Is Internationalization Dead or Is It a Vital Part of a Progressive, Modern University?” takes place from 2-2:50 p.m. and will be moderated by Mzamo Mangaliso from the Isenberg School of Management.

A second panel, “What are the Challenges We Face to Be a Truly Globalized University?” will be moderated by Joseph Berger from the College of Education.

A related event is the opening of an exhibit “Dr. W.S. Clark and His Plants At Sapporo,” from 4:30-6 p.m. in the Integrated Sciences Building Atrium. It features items on loan from Hokkaido University Museum.