Rensselaer enjoys strong international ties with Japan through its alumni and through companies such as the Yamada Corporation. The company has funded a Rensselaer fellowship program for the last 14 years. The fund, which has grown over the years, was split recently to create the Yamada Corporation Professorship.
James Tien 66, chair and professor in the Department of Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems, was the first to be selected for the named professorship late last year.
Rensselaers relationship with Yamada Corporation dates back to the late 1980s, when the university shipped a historic table to Japan. The table was used to sign the Treaty of Portsmouth at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in New Hampshire. The treaty, signed in 1905, effectively ended the Russo-Japanese War.
Japanese alumnus Takashi Obata, who earned his Ph.D. at Rensselaer in 1979, was instrumental in arranging plans to deliver the table to Japan, where it is now housed in the Meiji-mura Museum.In gratitude, Masashi Yamada, president and CEO of the Yamada Corporation, made a $1 million donation to Rensselaer to support education. The money originally was used to form the Masashi Yamada Fellowship, geared toward Japanese graduate students.
The Russo-Japanese War, 1904-05, developed from a power struggle between Russia and Japan for dominance in China and Korea. After a series of early Japanese victories, the war ended through the mediation efforts of President Theodore Roosevelt.
Roosevelt did not show up for the treaty signing in New Hampshire. Instead, he orchestrated the event from his New York summerhouse. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his efforts.
|Rensselaer Magazine: March 2003|
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