The Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship Program
Speech Announcement by Kurt Fulle
President and CEO of Nikken
From N. American Leadership Conference, October 2012
It is my privilege today, to announce to you a very special program created by our Chairman, Mr. Watanabe. In 2008, the Toshizo Watanabe Foundation was established with a $5M initial contribution, donated by Mr. Watanabe. In October of this year, the endowment was increased to $10M.
Under the Foundation, The Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship Program was created to provide a charity, which offers no greater gift than the gift of an education. The Program will offer financial assistance in the furtherance of education to the children of independent Nikken consultants, everywhere. This financial assistance will be offered at the undergraduate and post-graduate collegiate level, for attendance at an institution of higher learning in the United States. Each scholarship is granted for the term of one academic year to any student who is a citizen of a country where Nikken currently maintains operations.
Mr. Watanabe began his academic studies in 1968 at Keio University in Tokyo, where he benefited from a scholarship administered by the government of Japan on behalf of students from single-parent backgrounds. Mr. Watanabe was eligible as a result of his father having succumbed to disease contracted during the Second World War.
In 1971, Mr. Watanabe received additional financial aid to study abroad, from Mr. Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of electronics manufacturer, Panasonic. Concurrently, Mr. Watanabe had also been accepted to Wien Scholarship Program. The financial support he received from these 2 sources allowed him to attend Brandeis University in Massachusetts from 1971-1973, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in political science.
Inspired by his gratitude for these expressions of generosity, Mr. Watanabe is pleased to respond in kind and "pay it forward", by extending similar benefits to today's students.
As I mentioned earlier, the Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship Program grants awards to recipients in amounts based on financial need and qualifications. The awards will allow these individuals to pursue academic goals at the collegiate and post-graduate levels in the United States.
Annually, in December, the Foundation's Scholarship Committee will post on the Nikken website, www.nikken.com, the open period to submit scholarship applications. Generally, this period will be from January 1 to March 31 of the upcoming academic year. Application forms will also be available from this website. The applications will be reviewed by June of the upcoming academic year. Applicants will then be notified of the Scholarship Committee's decisions. Scholarships will be awarded each year for study beginning with the traditional Fall enrollment period. For the 2013-14 academic year, the Foundation has approximately $0.5 million available to award to applicants.
The scholarship will be used to pay for tuition. The award will be made directly to the eligible educational institution on the recipient's behalf. At the discretion of the Scholarship Committee each recipient may be awarded a scholarship for part or all of the tuition.
The Committee will require each scholarship recipient to provide a report of the recipient's work in each academic period.
Because of Mr. Watanabe's personal generosity in creating this new foundation, Nikken will be moving away from the Wellness Home Initiative and focusing on the Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship Program. We hope to benefit many future collegians in years to come.