南山大学

 

Alumni Network Message from the President

Nanzan International Students Alumni Network

This year, one of my seminar students wrote his graduation paper on Disneyland - the one in Tokyo, to be precise. His focus was on the service and experience provided by Disneyland, and what it might be that ensures that a great majority of visitors do come back for a second time. Himself a five-time visitor, my student offered quite a few insights into the kind of service that attracts repeat visitors and keeps Disneyland in business.

Without going into a deeper discussion on whether universities and colleges have come to resemble amusement parks, there is at least one point where an institution of higher education is different from Disneyland: universities can to stay in business by admitting new students (and graduating about the same number of) every year; there is no point in encouraging students to become "repeaters" by flunking their courses. Yet, I'm sure that an important part of the university life would be missing without the active input from alumni returning regularly to their Alma Mater.

Now, to make sure that students (international or otherwise) who graduated from Nanzan want to revisit the campus, the university has to become active - not only by providing services for alumni but also by giving them an opportunity to make their unique contribution. Thus, Nanzan decided to officially launch the "Nanzan International Students Alumni Network" as an open invitation to all its international graduates, beginning, of course, with the more than 3000 students who graduated from the Center for Japanese Studies. In addition to graduates from the CJS, there is also a growing number of international students who graduated from one of the regular departments at Nanzan University. On a personal note, my predecessor, Dr. Hans-Jürgen Marx and myself are graduates from Nanzan University and, at that time, we were the only "international students" on the Nanzan Campus in Nagoya.

When I graduated from the Theology Department in 1974, the same year that the CJS was founded, the idea and concept of the internet was just about to be born. Communication happened through mail (airmail and other sorts of snailmail) and international telephone/facsimile service (still rather expensive), and, years before the advent of personal computing, keeping a database of students and alumni meant maintaining an every growing printed list of names and addresses.

Fast forward to 2009 and we have all the tools of international communication at our fingertips - especially when these fingertips are touching the keyboard of a computer connected to the internet - and I'm happy that international graduates from Nanzan all over the world are now able to keep in contact with each other and with Nanzan. Some of you have spent four (or more) years studying at Nanzan University, others perhaps just that one short year at the CJS, but I'm sure there was plenty of occasion for what a famous master of tea ceremonies once said : Ichigo Ichie 一期一会. No need to translate, I presume - I'm sure you have come across that saying while you were studying here in Japan.

I hope the memories of your unique experience at Nanzan will motivate you to stay in touch and to share with us and your fellow students what you’re doing - and, if possible, to help us telling the story of Nanzan University in all parts of the world.

Dr. Michael Calmano,S.V.D.
President of Nanzan University