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New Fellowship Endowment

December 8, 2016

This Autumn Alumna Kristen Dean (MA Japan ’74) established the Kristen Kawakami Dean Fellowship in Japan Studies to support graduate students studying Japan at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies.

Reflecting on her own educational experience and on the generosity of others, Dean was inspired to make a lasting gift after attending the celebration for retiring professor Kenneth B. Pyle, whom she had as a teacher in the 1970s (and whose class she is auditing this quarter). A believer in the power of education to give people the opportunity to raise themselves and make the world a better place, Dean said of her contribution that it isn’t about her, and in fact she is careful not to draw attention to herself. “It’s about creating world citizens. I want to pay it forward.”

In addition, Dean established a fund for UW Tacoma Milgard School of Business in honor of her late husband, Jeffrey Dean, who taught at the school for 16 years instructing undergraduates and MBA students in business, law, and entrepreneurship. Because of Jeffrey Dean, Kristen qualified for the Faculty, Staff, Retiree (FSR) match as part of the current UW campaign, making her gift stretch even further.

An American of Japanese ancestry, Dean followed her heart in graduate studies, which led her to study in Japan. “One is not handicapped by knowing another language and culture and being more internationally minded. It’s knowledge needed today. Promoting international thinking, and people becoming conversant in another culture and language is important. Japan is important.”  She continues to travel and has covered much of the globe, visiting other cultures, countries, and people with no plans of stopping. Next year she will be in Tanzania, India, and possibly Cuba.

“I’m no Bill Gates or Paul Allen, but my hope is that others will see this contribution and also be inspired to give. No gift is too small. But giving something is important,” said Dean, noting that funding for students in International studies, and soft sciences in general, has diminished even as tuitions have increased.


Contributions to this fund and others can be made by visiting the UW Giving page (search for “Kawakami Dean”). The UW Japan Studies Program is grateful to the many people whose support of our program enables students to pursue academic and career goals, and for a program of community outreach which includes teacher training and public educational events. Join them in supporting the UW Japan Studies Program. When you join, we all win.