Tokyo Alumni Reception and Presentation of Benton Medallion to Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi

Fukoku Seimei Building, Hibiya
Room 2, 28th floor
Tokyo, Japan
May 21, 2014


Thank you, Ito-san,1 for that kind introduction. Our thanks also go to Hattori-san2 for his dedicated efforts as President of the Japan Chapter of the IU Alumni Association since 2008. And thanks too, to all members of the executive board of the chapter for all you have done for IU.

Thank you all for coming tonight to this reception and annual meeting of the Japan Chapter. I am delighted that this is a record attendance of over 100 people! Thank you all on behalf of Indiana University, for your continued loyalty, support, and friendship.

IU Presidential Delegation to Asia

Japan is our first stop on a trip across Asia, where we will be working to expand IU’s partnerships with some of Japan and Asia’s leading universities and meeting with many of our Asian alumni.

We will also visit Beijing, Singapore, Vietnam, and Hong Kong as part of this trip.

Our goal in Japan is to find ways to increase again the numbers of Japanese students studying at IU and the number of IU students studying abroad in Japan.

Both have decreased significantly in recent years.

I am pleased to say though that U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy confirmed in our meeting with her this afternoon that reversing this decline is a priority of both the Obama and Abe governments.

We spent most of Monday (19 May) in meetings at Waseda University in discussions as to how to increase these numbers, and most of Tuesday (20 May) in similar discussions at Osaka University.

Indiana, IU, and Japan

This is my 31st visit to your beautiful country.

I first had the pleasure of visiting Japan in 1987, nearly 30 years ago.

And I am especially pleased to be here to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Japan Chapter.

On behalf of the university, I extend my most sincere congratulations to all of you on this remarkable milestone.

I also want to express the university’s deepest gratitude for your support of the Ando Scholarship. Your creation and continued support of this scholarship honors Dr. Kaoru Ando, the distinguished IU alumnus who founded the Japan Chapter and served for nearly 2 decades as its president. I had the great honor of meeting Dr. Ando at a reception like this almost exactly 17 years ago when I was here with President Myles Brand in May 1997. Dr. Ando, of course, also co-founded Fujitsu, one of the world’s leading computer manufacturers, sometimes referred to as the IBM of Japan, a company, incidentally, with which I worked often earlier in my career.

I am particularly pleased that Dr. Ando’s daughter, Yoko Suzuki, is here this evening. Please join me in recognizing Suzuki-san.

The opportunity to study in Japan, made possible by the Ando Scholarship, truly has changed the lives of many students and helped them to develop into global citizens.

The first student who received the scholarship, Harvey Beasley, has since gone on to work for the U.S. State Department. Harvey earned degrees in business and Japanese from IU, and he met his wife at IU’s Dowling International Center when she was an international student from Japan studying at IU.

IU has, of course, welcomed many Japanese scholars and dignitaries to our campuses as visitors over the years, and many of our students, faculty, and staff have close personal and scholarly ties to Japan. The more than 100 Japanese students who studied at IU last year and the more than 1,500 IU alumni who are affiliated with Japan are a vital part of the life of Indiana University.

IU is one of America’s Most International Universities

We very recently came to the end of another successful academic year at Indiana University and I am delighted to share some of the university’s recent achievements.

IU continues to be one of the most international universities in the United States.

IU Bloomington ranks 10th out of more than 1,200 American universities in the number of international students enrolled. This international diversity helps prepare our students for careers in the global workforce.

IU Bloomington also ranks fifth among more than 1,200 American universities in the number of IU students who study abroad. Study and service abroad are, of course, very important parts of a 21st century education.

IU Remains a Top University in Terms of its Programs

As alumni, you will also be pleased to know that IU also remains a top university in terms of its programs.

Our Jacobs School of Music is ranked as the best of its kind in the nation by several publications.

Our Kelley School of Business undergraduate program is ranked number one in terms of student quality by recruiters. The Kelley School’s full-time MBA program is ranked 15th overall, and fourth among public universities.

Our School of Public and Environmental Affairs graduate program has been ranked second in the country.

Many departments and programs in our College of Arts and Sciences are also ranked among the top twenty in the nation.

New Academic Developments

In the last three years, we have also created six new schools at IU.

The new Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, for example, is the first school of its kind anywhere in the world dedicated to the academic study of philanthropy.

We also created the new Fairbanks School of Public Health in Indianapolis, and the new School of Public Health in Bloomington. These schools are improving public health by conducting high-quality research and by educating the next generation of public health professionals.

We also combined IU’s highly ranked School of Library and Information Science with the School of Informatics to form the new School of Informatics and Computing.

We are also about to launch a new Media School within the College of Arts and Sciences, which will merge our programs in the School of Journalism with our programs in telecommunications; communications and culture; and film studies.

All of these areas are changing rapidly, and the new Media School will help IU remain a leader in teaching and research in these fields.

But maybe the most significant new school is our new School of Global and International Studies.

And, as I said when our Trustees approved the creation of the new School, the decision to create it was one of the most important academic decisions ever taken in IU’s history. There is almost no area of American society today that is not affected by global forces and developments.

As many of you know, IU has great strengths in global studies.

We teach over 70 languages—more than any other university.

We have a large number of centers that focus on the history, cultures, religions, politics, economies, institutions, art, and literature of particular countries or regions of the world. Eleven of these centers, including the East Asian Studies Center, receive funding under the U.S. Department of Education’s highly regarded Title VI program. Again, this is more than any other university in the U.S.

The School of Global and International Studies brings all these programs together and positions IU as a leader in the study of global forces and developments.

A splendid new building, which will house the new School of Global and International Studies, is under construction in Bloomington.

Building for Excellence

Across IU, over the last seven years, we have seen one of the most active periods—in terms of the construction of new buildings and the renovation of our existing buildings—in IU’s history.

We have seen the construction or renovation of over 50 major new buildings at IU, as well as hundreds of smaller renovation projects, with a total value of over $1.5 billion.

About 70 percent of this has been funded with private or internal resources.


And, of course, IU continues to see success in athletics.

I recently had the great pleasure of visiting the White House in Washington, D.C. as our president, Barack Obama, honored the IU’s men’s soccer team for winning the 2012 NCAA collegiate national championship.

In the rest of the world, soccer is known as ‘football’ and, of course, it is the most popular game in the world. So when I travel outside the United States, people are often impressed to hear that we have one of the best collegiate teams in ‘football.’

And the IU baseball team, for the second year in a row, has won the Big Ten championship. The baseball team has a beautiful new stadium in Bloomington, and they are presently ranked number eight in the country. The Big Ten Tournament begins today, so we wish the team well as they begin post-season play.

Presentation of Thomas Hart Benton Medallion

As I have said on many occasions, IU graduates are among the most dedicated and loyal to their alma mater of any that I have encountered in my extensive travels. The spirit of IU may seem like it is thousands of miles away, but it is also right here in this room tonight, with you, some of our most dedicated Japanese alumni. You are part of the spirit of Indiana University, and your successes are the university’s successes.

Tonight, it is my honor to celebrate one alumnus whose professional accomplishments have made a great difference to Indiana University:  the eminent cellist and former faculty member of IU’s world-renowned Jacobs School of Music, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi.

Born here in Tokyo, he fell in love with the sound of the cello at a young age, and studied for a decade with the influential teacher, Hideo Saito, the founder of the Tokyo Conservatory.

He made his first solo appearance at age 12, with the Tokyo Philharmonic under the direction of Mr. Saito. He would go on to play with all of the leading Japanese orchestras.

After his graduation from the Toho High School of Music, Mr. Tsutsumi was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, which he used to come to Indiana University to study with Professor Janos Starker, who was regarded as one of the greatest cello performers and teachers of all time.

Within just a couple of years, Mr. Tsutsumi became Professor Starker’s assistant.

In 1965, he earned an artist’s diploma from what is now IU’s Jacobs School of Music.

In 1978, he married his wife, Harue, who, I am delighted to note, is also here this evening. Harue earned her doctoral degree in IU’s highly ranked Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, which I mentioned earlier. She is also an accomplished playwright whose award-winning work has been staged in leading venues around the world.

From 1988 to 2006, Mr. Tsutsumi served as Professor of Music at the IU School of Music.

All the while, of course, he has maintained a performing career that has taken him around the world with the most important orchestras and many of the great conductors.

He was elected the first President of the Japan Cello Society.

In 2004, he became the president of the Toho Gakuen School of Music—where he still teaches—and a few years later, was appointed as the president of Suntory Hall, the splendid concert hall complex here in Tokyo.

Mr. Tsutsumi received the Suntory Award for his contribution to music in Japan and was presented with the National Academy of Arts Prize in music by the Emperor of Japan.

In 2009, the Government of Japan awarded him with a Medal of Honor with purple ribbon, an honor given to individuals who have contributed to academic and artistic developments, improvements and accomplishments.

He has also received one of Japan’s highest honors, the title “Person of Cultural Merit,” or “Bunka Koro-sho,” for his distinguished service in the promotion of Japanese culture.

I am very pleased to add to those honors this evening.

Tsutsumi-sensei, would you join me at the podium?

Tsutsumi-sensei, you have achieved great distinction in your career.

Through your service on the faculty of Indiana University, you taught and mentored a generation of young musicians. You have also, through your outstanding career as an international performer, helped to deepen and strengthen international understanding and cooperation, using music as an instrument of cultural diplomacy.

To recognize distinction such as yours, the university established the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion. First given in 1986, the bronze medal features the Benton Mural, which is located in the IU Auditorium. The reverse side has the Seal of the University.

It symbolizes the aspirations and ideals that are the foundation of the search for knowledge.

And so, by the authority vested in me by the Trustees of Indiana University, and in acknowledgement of all that you have done and continue to do for the university, I present to you, Mr. Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion.


Tsutsumi-sensei, I know we would all be delighted to hear a few words from you and to have the opportunity to hear you play.

Thank you again for all you have done for Indiana University.

Source Notes

  1. Mr. Hideo Ito, MBA ’77, CEO, HI International Consulting

  2. Mr. Yasunori Hattori , MBA ’69