Message from the University President

The forerunner to Ferris University, Ferris Women’s Seminary, was founded in 1870, the third year of the Meiji era, by Mary E. Kidder, a missionary sent to Japan by the Dutch Reformed Church of America. It was the first modern educational institution for women in Japan. In 2020, Ferris proudly celebrates our sesquicentennial.

At a time in Japan’s history when women’s education was considered unnecessary, Mary Kidder asserted the great importance of educating women and having women play an active role in society. Kidder was clearly well ahead of her time, for when she began offering Japanese girls an education based on the Christian faith, the old government edict strictly prohibiting Christianity was still in effect. The liberal arts education we provide at Ferris University today still embraces Mary Kidder’s ambition to educate women capable of clearing open pathways into a new era.

Along with providing our students with a liberal education, Ferris University sets great store in our educational ideal of “For Others.” The term “Others” here means not only our neighbors or people close to us; importantly, it also includes people from different circumstances and stations in life with whom we usually have no interaction. Mary Kidder was probably inspired by this ideal when she sailed to Japan from America.

To truly realize the ideal of living “for Others,” several qualities are indispensable: the serene intelligence to objectively grasp the circumstances of Others; a fertile imagination and the sensitivity to consider the hearts and minds of Others; a broad vision and the flexibility to accept those who differ from oneself; and finally decisiveness and the ability to do what ought to be done.

Today, many Ferris graduates, who have acquired these faculties and have etched the ideal of living “for Others” into their hearts, continue striving to create a better society and a better world. Into the future, Ferris University will sustain our efforts to send forth many more such graduates into the world.

Makoto Arai, President