On March 9 and 10, the University celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Wien International Scholarship Program. Since its establishment in 1958, the program has brought over 860 students from 112 different countries to the University. On Saturday afternoon, panel discussions were held with both current Wien scholars and Wien Scholarship alumni. Panelists discussed the developments and achievements of the program over the past 60 years, as well as goals they have for its future. University President Ron Liebowitz and his wife, Jessica, hosted a gala at the Sherman Function Hall on Saturday night to continue the celebration. The event featured the presentation of the annual Alumni Achievement Award to Wien alumnus Toshizo Watanabe ’73. 

In November 2018, Watanabe donated $10 million to the University to fund the establishment of the Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship Program, which provides aid to undergraduate and graduate students from Japan. According to the University’s Nov. 14 press release, his was the largest gift that Brandeis has ever received from an international alumnus. Watanabe scholars will be awarded full tuition as well as a partial stipend for living expenses, as per the program’s website.

Watanabe, who is now president of the Toshizo Watanabe Foundation and chair emeritus of health and wellness company Nikken Global, graduated from Brandeis with a bachelor’s degree in Politics. He attributes much of his professional success to the scholarship support that he received from the Wien program as an undergraduate. According to the press release, his inspiration to donate to the University was spurred when he attended the celebration for the 30th anniversary of the Wien program, during which co-founder Lawrence Wien gave a speech. Ever since, Watanabe says that he has “always wanted to repay the Wien family’s generosity by helping other students.”