Through her visionary leadership and commitment to improving the lives of others, Makiko Tanaka has created an enduring spirit of cross-cultural exchange that permeates Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
As President of the Tanaka Memorial Foundation, Makiko Tanaka guides the foundation's efforts in support of education, arts and culture, as well as social and human services. As Deputy Chair of the Board of Tanaka Ikueikai Educational Trust, she oversees Technos College in Tokyo, Japan. Both important roles have put Makiko Tanaka in a position to widen global perspectives.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges' relationship with the Tanaka family dates back to the late 1980s when Dr. Kenji Tanaka L.H.D. '92 visited campus with his two young daughters, Makiko and Kimiko. That visit forged a partnership that has flourished in the ensuing decades. It is through the influence of the Tanaka Memorial Foundation that the colleges have developed its vibrant and very successful Department of Asian Languages and Cultures. Her support and that of the Foundation has been catalytic in helping HWS attract other important external resources and support for its Asian Studies programs including The Henry Luce Foundation, the John Ben Snow Foundation, the Freeman Foundation, and others.
Due to the generosity of Makiko Tanaka and her family, since 1992, Hobart and William Smith students and faculty have traveled to Tokyo each year to participate in Technos International Week. This annual exchange encourages an exploration of the facets of contemporary and traditional Japanese life throughout Japan in a profound cross-cultural experience. After returning back to HWS, students and faculty members regularly report that they have been transformed. The result has been a deep infusion of an Asian perspective into many components of our curriculum.
Makiko Tanaka graduated from the University of the Sacred Heart in Tokyo and subsequently spent a year as a visiting researcher at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University. She serves on several boards and is a fellow of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award World Fellowship.