Cascade Campus President Algie Gatewood recently got a crash course in Japanese commencement ceremonies. As the commencement speaker for two graduating classes at Osaka Jikei College in Osaka, Japan, he had a steep learning curve to master before he delivered his speeches.
“It was a beautiful graduation,” he said. “Formal, dignified, steeped in tradition. It was an education for me to be a part of it.”
Gatewood visited Osaka in March as part of the growing relationship between Portland Community College and Osaka Jikei, a division of the Jikei group of colleges, a diverse institution with operations all over Japan. Dr. Gatewood was on hand as a guest of Osaka Jikei to address their graduates and to discuss the possibility of strengthening the two institutions’ relationship in the future.
Osaka Jikei and PCC began a relationship in 2009, in which science students from Osaka Jikei visit PCC each year to learn more about the College’s programs — including the Ophthalmic Laboratory Technology program at Cascade – as well as work in PCC’s labs and conduct cultural exchange with PCC students.
For his part, Gatewood had the opportunity to do a little cultural exchange of his own, visiting Osaka Jikei’s facilities, meeting with its leadership, and taking in some of the myriad sights, sounds, and tastes of Osaka, Japan’s second-largest metropolitan area.
“Japan is an incredible place,” he said. “There’s an amazing blend of tradition and modernity that you can see in everything from the cuisine to the music to the architecture. I was really impressed with Osaka Jikei’s range of programs and the quality of their facilities and instruction. Their executive leadership were welcoming, cordial, and genuinely interested in broadening the perspective of their students through the relationship with PCC.”
As for broadening the relationship between PCC and Osaka Jikei, Gatewood thinks it’s a good idea.
“To me, international relationships such as the one with Osaka Jikei College are what we need to do if we are to successfully interface with people from around the world,” he said. “And in the 21st century economy, we must be able to do this in order to be competitive.”