NWC renews sister-college relationship with Japanese university

Friday, September 4, 2009

Shintaroh Okazaki, chancellor of Baiko Gakuin University, and Northwestern President Greg Christy sign a covenant of cooperation between the two schools at a ceremony on Sept. 4.

Officials from Northwestern College and Baiko Gakuin University in Shimonoseki, Japan, have renewed a covenant of cooperation between the two schools.

Baiko Gakuin was Northwestern’s first sister college, as a relationship was established between the two colleges in 1979 under the leadership of the late Dr. Lyle VanderWerff, director of Northwestern’s international student programs. More recently, several Northwestern alumni have spent a year teaching English as a second language at Baiko Gakuin.

The renewed collaboration features several goals, including the participation of Baiko students in Northwestern’s re-established Summer Institute for International Students, the enrollment of Baiko students in a junior-year program at Northwestern, the development of a Northwestern summer study-abroad course at the Japanese institution, and continued employment of Northwestern graduates at the university.

Baiko Gakuin and Northwestern share a common heritage as Christian colleges of the Reformed tradition. The Japanese institution was founded nearly 140 years ago with roots in the Reformed Church in America and the Presbyterian Church. Northwestern was founded in 1882 and is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America. Baiko is a co-ed college with about 1,000 students offering degrees in Japanese literature, English literature, foreign languages and elementary education.

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Duane Beeson
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