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A Brief Timeline of Lakeland University Japan

December 1990

In December 1990, Lakeland College, led by President David Black, signs an agreement with the Nippon Education Corp. (NEC), a consortium of Japanese private higher education institutions, to open a branch campus in Tokyo.

Dr. Stephen A. Gould, a professor of German at Lakeland since 1970, is named provost and dean to Lakeland College Japan (LCJ).

At right: Lakeland College in Japanese. First printed in Wisconsin’s Sheboygan Press on March 24, 1991. (Pronounced Lei-ku-ra-n-do Daigaku Nihon-kou)

April 1991

On April 22, 1991, 159 students begin taking classes in LCJ’s English-as-a-foreign-language program. Class sessions are four hours a day, six days a week over a 10-week term. Instructors include, among others, Dr. Gould’s wife, Susan Gould, David Stein and Martin Ulrich. The campus building (pictured) was a high-rise in Otsuka, about a four-minute walk from the train station.

January 1992

Noriko Yoshida, who’d graduated high school in Suva, Fiji, becomes the first student from LCJ to transfer to Lakeland College in Wisconsin.

March 1992

“The remarkable and rapid changes that have occurred in the world must not be lost on America’s college students.

American students need better understanding of the people and cultures in other parts of the world, so their decisions later in life will be appropriate to a smaller, more interdependent world than we have ever known before.”

– Lakeland President David Black (1989-1997 and 2017-2020; pictured)

June 1992

A group of 37 students from the LCJ campus visit Lakeland College’s campus for one month to study English more intensively. When asked about first impressions, many of the students mentioned the “expansiveness of the country” as well as “the high calorie content of the food.”

October 1993

LCJ’s application to offer an Associate of Arts Degree is approved by the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, Culture and Technology in Japan.

December 2005

LCJ becomes only the second U.S. branch campus (after Temple) to be officially recognized by the Japanese government as an institution of higher education in Japan. Starting in 2006, and due to the government’s recognition, international students from all over the world begin to take classes at LCJ.

March 11, 2011

The Great Tohoku Earthquake delivers a jolt to the LCJ campus in Shinjuku. According to students and faculty, the building shook strongly, with books and equipment crashing to floors and elevators damaged. LCJ students unable to reach home use LCJ as a hotel and find spots on the floor to sleep. The final three weeks of class are completed online.

Earthquake office

September 2012

On September 20, 2012, US Ambassador of Japan John Roos becomes the first sitting ambassador to visit the LCJ campus in Shinjuku. Roos meets with both the faculty and students. Ryoma Abe, an LCJ student and president of the student government association, serenades the ambassador by singing a rendition of the song “Stand by Me.”

July 2016

Lakeland College changes its name to Lakeland University, as does the Japan campus branch, to reflect its graduate programs, diverse offerings and its newfound reach around the globe.

August 2016

Over 100 LUJ Alumni gather for the 25th anniversary celebration at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Then U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy provided a taped congratulatory message. “[My father Robert Kennedy] would be very proud to know that the small college he visited [in Wisconsin] in 1960 has become a major force in international education.”

April 2020

LUJ begins a partnership with Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU), allowing LUJ students, once they’ve completed their Associate of Arts Degree, to attend either Lakeland University in Wisconsin, or VWU in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

April 2021

The Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, Culture and Technology in Japan approves LUJ’s application to offer 4-year Bachelor of Arts degrees

January 2022

LUJ moves to its current location in Ryogoku, a short walk from the Kokugikan…