On March 14, USC announced that the Shinnyo-en Buddhist order donated $6.6 million to further the study of Japan and its culture at the university.The Japanese Religions and Culture Center on campus will now be renamed the Shinso Ito Center. The name is meant to honor Her Holiness Shinso Ito, who is the current leader of the Shinnyo-en Buddhist order.Duncan Williams, chair of the School of Religion at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and co-director of the Shinso Ito Center, elaborated on the generous gift.“The donation will be used primarily as an endowment that will allow the Center to support its programs in perpetuity,” Williams said. “The center is the host of a variety of research projects that range from the study of pre-modern Japanese religion to contemporary immigration policies in Japan, from the connection between Japanese religions and science to the history of Japanese America.”Based in Japan, the Shinnyo-en Buddhist order is an organization with nearly one million members worldwide. They have been involved in philanthropic efforts at American universities to help support Buddhist and Japanese studies.Shinnyo-en has also made gifts to Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. Williams previously served as the director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Japanese Studies before coming to USC in 2011.“Shinnyo-en deeply appreciates the commitment of the USC Center for Japanese Religions and Culture for its deep and sensitive explorations of many aspects of Japanese culture through the study of international relations, society, the arts, media and religion,” said Rev. Minoru Shitara, director of the Shinnyo-en International Affairs Department. “Shinnyo-en views this support of the center as an expression of our common purpose with USC to educate people from diverse backgrounds to become effective agents for understanding, peace and harmony in the world.”The Buddhist term shinnyo “denotes both Buddhahood (spiritual awakening) and the nature of reality; en refers to a boundless garden or open space,” according to the Shinnyo-en website.The donation elicited a congratulatory statement from Caroline Kennedy, the current U.S. Ambassador to Japan.“Today’s historic gift of $6.6 million from the Shinnyo-en organization to the University of Southern California represents an important moment in the relationship between the United States and Japan. Promoting cross-cultural ties and mutual understanding between the U.S. and Japan is more important now than ever before,” Kennedy said in a statement.The Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture currently has a wide array of initiatives that focus on promoting the study of Japan both on and off campus.“Beyond research projects and the associated conferences and workshops, the center hosts nearly one event a week dealing with some aspect or another of Japanese studies,” Williams said. “Further, the center supports faculty and student research on Japan, whether it be to travel to Japan or present research at national and international conferences.”The donation advances USC’s $6 billion fundraising initiative, of which more than $3 billion has been raised so far.
Pair of the Week – Brooke Adkisson – So. – San Antonio, Texas \ Giuliana Poletti-Corrales – Fr. – Asuncion, ParaguayAgainst nationally ranked Tulane, the duo faltered in the first set but bounced back in the final two sets 21-15 and 15-8 for the deciding poing in the 3-2 team win. Adkisson and Poletti-Corrales carried that momentum through the weekend, winning their other three matches in straight sets. After edging their UNO counterparts 22-20 to seal a win on Saturday, the Islander pair didn’t allow more than 13 points in a set across both of Sunday’s victories. FRISCO, Texas – Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Brooke Adkisson and Giuliana Poletti-Corrales are the Southland Conference Beach Volleyball Pair of the Week, the league announced Tuesday. The twosome were a perfect 4-0 at the UNO Invitational, helping the Islanders to the same mark over the weekend. A&M-Corpus Christi opened the weekend with a 3-2 win over No. 20 Tulane and posted the same outcome against tournament host New Orleans. The Islanders wrapped up the weekend by blanking conference foes Nicholls and Southeastern Louisiana 5-0 each on Sunday. Honorable Mention: None. A&M-Corpus Christi (5-3) looks to keep its five-match win streak alive at the Southland Showcase, hosted by Houston Baptist on Saturday and Sunday. The Islanders face Central Arkansas and Stephen F. Austin on Saturday before taking on Abilene Christian and Houston Baptist on Sunday. Southland weekly award winners are nominated and voted upon by each school’s sports information director. Voting for one’s own athlete is not permitted. To earn honorable mention, a student-athlete must appear on 25 percent of ballots.