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President Wilson expresses support and condolences to the people of Japan

The entire University of Massachusetts community expresses its support, condolences, and respect for the people of Japan as they work to recover from the horrendous natural disasters that have combined to take so many Japanese lives and put so many more at risk. We all feel a deep sense of frustration that we cannot do more at this time. We encourage everyone to give to those organizations that can help with the recovery process.

While we feel much relief to know that all of the students from UMass that we know are studying in Japan are safe, we feel much sorrow for the suffering of so many others in Japan.

The ties between the University and the people of Japan are old and very deep.  Ever since our President, William Smith Clark, was invited to Japan in 1876 to start the Sapporo Agricultural College, now known as Hokkaido University, we have been tied together in our mutual work to improve the lives of our citizens and the economy of our countries.  Indeed, the ties to Massachusetts date even further back to when John Manjiro, a stranded Japanese fisherman, was rescued in 1841 by an American whaler and taken in by the Whitfield family of Fairhaven and New Bedford.  After receiving an American education, he returned to Japan to be instrumental in the re-opening of Japan to the rest of the world in 1853.

As we have seen in watching the nightly news, the Japanese people are facing the disaster with calm and dutiful hard work.  Stories of sacrifice and heroism abound.  Please know that the University of Massachusetts community, our students, our faculty, our staff, our alumni and our friends are all thinking of the Japanese and others who are enduring and will prevail in these tragic times.  Our thoughts and hopes are with you today and will be with you throughout the long recovery and after that into the next 150 years just as they have been for the last 150 years.

President Jack M. Wilson

3/17/11

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Robert P. Connolly
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rconnolly@umassp.edu

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