North Central College - Naperville, IL

Shige Masaki Nagamura

Class Year: 

Outstanding Alumni Award Winner 2007

Shige Masaki '54 Nagamura received an Outstanding Alumni Award for her deep commitment to international education and loyalty to her alma mater, spanning a half century.

She came to North Central College in the difficult years following World War II with limited financial resources. "In January 1950, on a cold winter day, I arrived with a warm heart and with excitement and happiness ... because I could study in this country. And I could never dream that this day would come to me," she said upon receiving her award.

Following graduation from North Central College with honors, Mrs. Nagamura received a master's degree from the University of Chicago and returned to Japan to undertake an impressive career. She worked for the United States Educational Commission in Tokyo and later enjoyed a 25-year career in the Tokyo Family Court Conciliation Commissioners Association, part of the Japanese justice system. For her leadership, she was decorated by the Emperor of Japan with the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold and Silver Rays.

Her husband of 39 years, Mr. Teiichi Nagamura, held many prominent offices in government and business, including that of president of the Japan External Trade Organization, before he passed away in 2004. The couple traveled widely, met heads of state and represented Japan at the highest levels.

To help Japanese students experience the same benefits of studying at North Central College, Mrs. Nagamura made a generous gift commitment of more than $1 million to her alma mater. The College has in turn established the Teiichi and Shige Masaki '54 Nagamura Endowed Scholarship to support outstanding students from Japan in their studies. Mrs. Nagamura continues to live in Tokyo.

At the awards ceremony, she credited her own successful years at North Central College to the friends she made and their kind acts of friendship. "I want to share this award with those who helped me, my good friends, whom I shall never forget for the rest of my life."