President receives doctorate

PSU President Daniel Bernstine was in Japan on Tuesday to receive an honorary doctorate of letters from the prestigious Waseda University, one of Asia’s top 20 universities. Bernstine received the award in Tokyo during a commemorative ceremony.

Bernstine is the 10th United States citizen to receive a honorary degree from Waseda since 1957. Other international recipients include President of the Republic of South Africa Nelson Mandela (1995) and journalist Walter Cronkite (2002).

Bernstine is being honored because of his contributions to the community of Portland and his work toward developing a diverse international university. He is one of seven members of the board of directors of the Waseda Oregon Office (WOO), a partnership between PSU and Waseda University. The organization gives students and faculty the opportunity to study and teach abroad. The association between the two universities has been in place since 1989.

The WOO has allowed students and staff from both universities to gain teaching experience and exposure to different cultures. PSU currently hosts more exchange students from Japan than any other institution of higher education in the state of Oregon. Many of these students come from Japanese universities with which PSU has formal relationships. Similar partnerships and opportunities are expected in the future as a result of the Waseda and PSU affinity.

The executive director of WOO, John Oh, encourages this relationship as a necessary step for the development of education within the world’s universities. “If people understand people of another country, hopefully, the ultimate goal is we would be at peace,” Oh said. “The more you understand from both sides, the better.”

He explained the award is a great honor for PSU and Berstine.

“President Bernstine is very excited about this,” Oh said. “He’s been to Waseda University a few times and has seen their development.”

Bernstine became PSU’s president in August of 1997. Since that time he has shown a large interest in promoting the university’s International Initiative and Diversity Initiative, both which have led to his scholarly recognition.