DePaul Honors SGI President Ikeda
The country’s largest Catholic university confers an honorary doctorate on the SGI president.
TOKYO, Dec. 28, 2016—In a dignified ceremony, DePaul University, the country’s largest Catholic university, conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters upon SGI President Ikeda for his prolific career in education and peacekeeping, referring to him as a “shining example that achievement can flourish despite adversity.”
DePaul University President the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, Congregation of the Mission, traveled to Japan to attend the conferral, which was held on Dec. 28, 2016, at the Soka Gakkai Headquarters in Shinanomachi, Tokyo.
Soka University Trustee Hiromasa Ikeda received the honorary doctorate on the SGI president’s behalf.
The 119-year-old university established in April 2014 the Institute for Daisaku Ikeda Studies in Education—the first such university–affiliated institute in the United States and in the English-speaking academy worldwide—to research the educational philosophies and practices of Daisaku Ikeda, Josei Toda and Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, rooted in soka, or “value-creating” education.
The institute also provides workshops and symposia to students, educators, counselors, academics and educational leaders in the greater Chicago area.
Dr. Jason Goulah, associate professor of bilingual-bicultural education, is the institute’s director.
Leaving a better world for the generations to follow.
During the conferral ceremony, Dr. Goulah read the purpose of the conferral, and Dr. Holtschneider offered congratulatory remarks. Following the conferral, Hiromasa Ikeda read a message on behalf of Dr. Ikeda.
Dr. Holtschneider remarked that he had traveled to Japan to offer his deep respect for the work of Dr. Ikeda and also to express his appreciation for the mission of Soka University.
He then called for the two institutions to come together “to further strengthen our efforts to work for the betterment of humanity.”
“A university, while informing young people about the complexities of the world, is also a place where they learn how to greatly contribute to this world,” he said. “In order to leave a better world for the generations that will follow, it is absolutely vital that we convey the highest ideals and philosophy to these youth. I believe this is the mission that we share with the Soka Schools.”
DePaul offers courses on the philosophy of Soka education.
DePaul, which opened its doors in 1898 in Chicago, derives its name and fundamental mission from St. Vincent de Paul (1581–1660), the French Roman Catholic priest known for his humanism and service to the poor.
He founded the Congregation of the Mission, a religious community whose members, Vincentians, established and continue to sponsor DePaul.
What began with seven instructors is today among the 10 largest private universities in the U.S., with 10 colleges and schools, and 23,000 students from more than 100 countries.
Guided by the Vincentian mission of engaged social justice, the College of Education prepares educators, counselors and educational leaders to work in Chicago Public Schools, the nation’s third largest public school district, and in local private and Catholic schools.
The university is located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, which President Ikeda visited during his first trip to the United States in October 1960.
In The New Human Revolution, a 30-volume serialized novel on the history of the Soka Gakkai and its worldwide people’s movement, President Ikeda recounts witnessing at Lincoln Park an act of racism against an African American boy. He determined, from that spot, to rid the world of such inhumanity and racial intolerance. Addressing the young boy in his heart, he vowed to build a world “truly worthy of your love and pride” (see The New Human Revolution, vol. 1, p. 145).
A new master’s degree program in Value-Creating Education for Global Citizenship is coming.
The Institute for Daisaku Ikeda Studies in Education continues to focus on its mission toward that end.
In 2010, DePaul’s College of Education began offering regular courses on the philosophy of education of Mr. Makiguchi and Mr. Ikeda. More than 250 students have taken these courses, including 17 students who went on to study abroad in Japan.
The university now has a dozen doctoral students engaged in Makiguchi-Ikeda studies through the College of Education. Many of these students have published scholarly works and presented at major national and international conferences.
Meanwhile, several faculty have published widely on Soka-Ikeda studies over the past decade, with their articles used in education programs in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Kenya, Australia and Europe.
The College of Education is currently developing a new master’s degree program in Value-Creating Education for Global Citizenship. This will be the first master’s degree program specifically focused on the educational philosophies and practices of President Ikeda and the Soka heritage. With the curriculum to be delivered in both face-to-face and online strands, the degree will be available to students from around the world.