A university dean in Dallas has been selected as the 11th president of Hendrix College, the school’s trustees announced Friday.
Doctor William M. Tsutsui will be with Hendrix in June.
Tsutsui is dean and professor of history in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at Southern Methodist University.
Rob O’Connor, Hendrix communications director, said Tsutsui was selected by a committee that formed after Hendrix’s 10th president, Dr. J. Timothy Cloyd, resigned in February of this year.
Cloyd served as president at the college since 2001.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are extremely pleased and excited to welcome Dr. Tsutsui as the 11th president of Hendrix College,” said Hendrix alumnus David Knight, chair of the Hendrix College Board of Trustees and co-chair of the president search committee. “We are very fortunate to have such an accomplished academician and administrator to lead Hendrix into an exciting new era.”
Student Senate President Neelam Vyas, another search committee member, said Tsutsui “continued to engage and excite the search committee” with his “personality, humor, and familiarity with the Hendrix story.”
Tsutsui’s own scholarly pursuits embody the Hendrix “commitment to excellence in our academic core,” Vyas said in the announcement release.
Tsutsui was at Hendrix College Friday at the head of a line of students and Hendrix faculty and staff who were in a hall of the Student Life and Technology Center to greet and welcome him.
A native of Texas, Tsutsui received a Ph.D. in history at Princeton University in 1995 and a Master of Arts in history in 1990.
He received a Master of Letters in Modern Japanese History from Oxford University’s Corpus Christi College in 1988 and graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies in 1985.
He is a specialist in modern Japanese business and economic history, and his published books examine topics ranging from banking policy to the film icon Godzilla.
Tsutsui said Friday his Godzilla collection, which includes hundreds of Godzilla relics and toys, would be coming with him to the college.
The collection was started about 15 years ago, he said, when a student who knew of his interest in the Japanese pop culture icon brought him a toy.
“After that, all my students who went to Japan starting bringing me Godzilla toys,” he said.
Tsutsui said his interest in Godzilla began when he was a child.
“I’m Japanese-American, and there are not a lot of things in Texas that are Japanese-American,” he said. “Godzilla was a good thing for me. I loved it.”
Souther Methodist University President R. Gerald Turner praised Tsutsui’s leadership and work in Dedman College “to achieve significant and rapid progress in developing innovative programs,” and his role in establishing new endowed chairs and advancing research.
Turner said, through Hendrix College release, he is not surprised Tsutsui was tapped for a college presidency as the next step in his career.
Prior to joining SMU, Tsutsui served as associate dean for International Studies in the College of Art and Sciences at the University of Kansas where he was a history professor and director of the Kansas Consortium for Teaching About Asia in KU’s Center for East Asian Studies.
“I am deeply honored for the opportunity to serve as President of Hendrix,” Tsutsui said in a prepared statement. “Today, despite the challenges faced by all liberal arts colleges, Hendrix holds an enviable position. Your Hendrix Odyssey has clearly energized the campus and provided focus, identity, and national profile in a crowded academic marketplace. I firmly believe that Hendrix is well prepared for the challenges ahead and I look forward to working with the trustees, faculty, staff, and students to make a real contribution to Hendrix’s future.”
Tsutsui’s wife, Dr. Marjorie Swann, received a Ph.D. in 17th Century British Literature from Oxford University’s Corpus Christi College and will join the Hendrix faculty in the English department.
W. Ellis Arnold, executive vice president, general counsel and dean of Advancement, will continue to serve as acting president until Tsutsui’s presidency begins in June.
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