Brandeis alumnus donates $10 million for Japanese students
Toshizo “Tom” Watanabe ’73 has donated $10 million in scholarship funds to be allocated to undergraduate and graduate students from Japan. This is the single largest donation the University has received from an international graduate, according to the University’s Nov. 14 press release.
The Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship Program will be available to students who are currently studying or who have studied at “top-tier” Japanese universities with whom Brandeis has a partnership, according to the press release. Brandeis’ International Business School has already established relationships with the Keio and Waseda Universities, both based in Tokyo, per the IBS website.
Watanabe Scholars will be eligible to attend Brandeis as undergraduates or graduate students in three of its schools: IBS, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Through the scholarship, they will receive full tuition and a partial stipend for living expenses, according to the TWISP website.
Watanabe, who grew up in Kamakura, Japan, was admitted to the University as part of the Wien International Scholarship Program, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, per the TWISP press release. That program covers the full demonstrated need of its recipients, who are chosen based on academic success and extracurricular or community involvement, per the Scholarships and Admissions page. Since the program’s inception, there have been 894 Wien Scholars from 115 countries, according to its website.
According to the press release, Watanabe was inspired to donate to the University while attending a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Wien program, during which Lawrence Wien, co-founder of the Wien program, gave a speech.
“That is when a seed was planted for me,” Watanabe said. “Since then, I have always wanted to repay the Wien family’s generosity by helping other students.”
Watanabe credits the Wien scholarship with making his career possible, according to the University’s statement. He graduated from Brandeis with a bachelor's degree in Politics, and went on to achieve a Masters of Business Administration from Pepperdine University, according to a Bloomberg profile of Watanabe. Watanabe served as CEO and president of Nikken, a health and wellness company, and is now chairman emeritus.
In the press release, University President Ron Liebowitz called Watanabe’s donation “emblematic of the university’s mission,” and said he was “deeply grateful” for it. “This scholarship program will not only enable us to welcome deserving students, it will also further diversify our campus, add new perspectives to our classroom discussions and emphasize our university as a global institution,” he wrote.
Watanabe has also established the Toshizo Watanabe Fellows Program at Stanford University, the Toshizo Watanabe Endowed Scholarship Fund for the U.S.-Japan Council and the Toshizo Watanabe Scholarship at Nikken.