"I believe that a hallmark of the educated person is the extent to which one's life experience is viewed in wide context of other cultures and other times. I have spent my professional life helping others acquire some solid base to further their global awareness and international understanding." - Yusaku Furuhashi
The University of Notre Dame Department of Marketing celebrates the life of Dr. Yusaku Furuhashi, a valued colleague who passed away in March of this year. Well-respected across campus, Dr. Furuhashi was a long-standing member of the Mendoza College of Business faculty and the founder of the Center for U.S.-Japanese Business Studies. Despite retiring in 2002, Dr. Furuhashi remained steadfast in his dedication to bring global and cross-cultural business education to the University of Notre Dame. His fifty years of academic and administrative service have certainly not gone unnoticed.
Yusaku Furuhashi grew up in Japan and spent the first two years of his undergraduate education at Sophia University in Tokyo. In 1954, Furuhashi came to the United States to complete his studies at Seattle University. After graduating in 1956, he went on to get his MBA from the University of Washington in 1958 and his PH.D. at the University of Illinois in 1961. Shortly after, Dr. Furuhashi joined the Notre Dame faculty.
While at Notre Dame, Dr. Furuhashi focused his research on the business structures in marketing in America and Japan. Furuhashi served as the chair of the marketing department from 1968 to 1974. He was also instrumental in developing the original curriculum for the now-esteemed MBA Program in the College of Business. A pioneer for the international dimensions of business education at Notre Dame, Furuhashi created new courses, including "Language and Culture of the Japanese Workplace", "Working with Japanese Business", and "Select Topics in Japanese Business and Management."
He continued his leadership in the College of Business, serving as Associate Dean, Acting Dean, and Dean of the College from 1975 to 1989. At this time, Dr. Furuhashi also aided in the development of a study abroad program with Sophia University in Japan and taught Japanese courses on campus. Professor John Kennedy, a current member of the Mendoza Marketing Faculty, worked closely with Professor Furuhashi over the years. "He was quick to praise, slow to criticize. He saw the good in everything and had trouble finding anything bad. He understood that the reason we have two ears and one mouth is to listen twice as much as we speak. He was a great listener. He was a wonderful man." Kennedy also mentioned Furuhashi's major contributions to marketing in the 60s, calling him "one of the sculptors of the marketing forum as we know it today."
In January 1991, Dr. Furuhashi founded The Center for U.S. – Japanese Business Studies. The Center was founded in order to encourage, promote, and support teaching, research, and service in the areas related to Japan, particularly Japanese business and management. The two essential programs of the Center include Summer Internships in Japan for MBA Students and The Chu-San-Ren/Sinto Program for Global Human Resource Development. 2011 marks the 20th year that the Center has offered internships to students who express a special interest in Japan and Japanese business. The Chu-San-Ren/Sinto Program for Global Human Resource Development works in conjunction with the Central Japan Industries Association. The program involves an intensive month-long program of educational programs at Notre Dame for young Japanese business managers.
Christine Breisch, a long-time employee and lifelong friend, worked with Dr. Furuhashi for the past twenty years. She says, "Dr. Furuhashi taught me so much over the past 20 years I have worked for him. He was a brilliant man, always soft spoken and humble. He always took the time to answer questions anyone would have, whether it was cultural, or business related with the uncanny knack of making people feel like their questions were important I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know him professionally as well as personally. He was the ultimate gentleman. He once told me there was a difference between "knowledge" and "wisdom." I'm afraid at this point I would have to disagree when it comes to Dr. Furuhashi. He had knowledge AND wisdom."
His humility and modesty made him a beloved figure across the Notre Dame campus. Father Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., knew and worked with Furuhashi in order to bring international awareness and research to the University. "[Furuhashi] was a fruitful man who touched the lives of so many students and people on campus," says Father Hesburgh. "He was our window to Japan, a bridge between the United States and Japan. He was a link when the University had very few links to the Orient. Dr. Furuhashi was a modest, quiet man who was very steady, very loyal, and very dedicated to Notre Dame. We will miss him a great deal."
Professor Yusaku Furuhashi was revered by many and loved by all. He will be greatly missed.
Article written by Elizabeth Kate Dieckman
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