A Message from President Feasel: Welcome Back to Soka

September 09, 2021
Aerial view of SUA campus at night

Dear Soka Community,

Congratulations on being able to start this semester together, in person, here on SUA’s campus. After more than a year of our efforts and desire to bring students back to campus, we have finally achieved our goal. I want to thank all our staff and faculty for your meticulous planning and efforts to realize this accomplishment, and all our students for your patience and support of the necessary policies and procedures for us to have in-person education again at SUA.

Of course, we are still in an uncertain time with the Delta variant and the potential of other new variants emerging, and so I ask that we all remain vigilant in following the policies and protocols we have in place to prevent breakthrough cases on campus. With the successful completion of our Core 1 block last week as an example of what is possible, I am confident as a community we will rise to the challenge of successfully conducting in-person education for the Fall semester. Toward this end, following our masking policy and getting tested as soon as possible at the health center if you have symptoms, will be important in our success.

I believe another advantage we have in our efforts is the goal based on our university mission for each of us to become a global citizen committed to living a contributive life. Based on our consistent efforts to bring forth courage, compassion, and wisdom from within our lives, the care and support we provide each other based on this ethic of global citizenship will be key to our success. To build and solidify this culture of global citizenship on campus, let us all continue to advance and grow individually, while strengthening our commitment and action to work for the benefit of others in our community as well. I thank you for your efforts to contribute to building this culture of global citizenship at SUA.

As we begin a new semester, I would also like to share a recent interaction I had with a donor, as I believe in addition to our founder Daisaku Ikeda, our donors have the greatest expectations and hopes for all of us at SUA, especially for our students. One donor I met together with her daughter and son, shared the story of her eldest daughter who graduated from Soka Women’s College in Japan, who set her sights on being a member of the first class of SUA. As she prepared to apply for SUA while working, she found out she had cancer. She was determined to go to SUA even if she was delayed and might have to enter the second or third year. While she survived to witness the opening of the new century, she passed away in January 2001.

A month later her family made a donation to SUA and had her name placed on our Founders Circle Donor Wall. When I asked how the family heard about that opportunity and decided to make the donation, the brother replied, “it was her wish, her life savings, and her instructions that we do so.” She wanted all the money and whatever insurance money to go to support SUA students. Her family has continued to support SUA as donors over the years.

Each one of the donor names we see on campus have an incredible story behind them. What they have in common, I have found, is their appreciation to Mr. Ikeda for all his efforts to support them and to promote peace throughout the world, and their hopes and belief in the students of SUA to become leaders in society who will usher in a new era of peace for humanity. I feel very fortunate to work together with all of you here at SUA with the incredible mission we have to send global citizens into the world to change the course of humanity.

Please take care and I look forward to seeing all of you around campus.

Ed Feasel

Note: A version of this message was delivered to the Soka community via email on Sept. 9, 2021