William M. (Bill) Tsutsui assumed the presidency of Hendrix College on June 1, 2014. He previously served as dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and professor of history at Southern Methodist University from 2010 to 2014. He holds degrees from Harvard (A.B. 1985), Oxford (M.Litt. 1988), and Princeton (M.A. 1990, Ph.D. 1995). Prior to joining SMU, Tsutsui spent seventeen years at the University of Kansas, where he served as acting director of KU’s Center for East Asian Studies (1999, 2001, 2004), chair of the Department of History (2007-2008), founding executive director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Kansas (2006-2008), and associate dean for international studies in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (2008-2010).
While leading Hendrix, Tsutsui stressed accessibility and affordability, diversity and inclusion, a commitment to the core values of a residential liberal arts education, and connecting with the college’s United Methodist and Arkansas heritage. The Hendrix Arkansas Advantage, offering resources to cover full demonstrated financial need for qualified Arkansas high school graduates, was launched in 2014 and became a nationwide program (Hendrix Advantage Plus) in 2018. In 2015, the college announced partnerships with eight schools and organizations (including KIPP Delta Public Schools and Little Rock Central High School) to bring Pell-eligible students to Hendrix on full scholarships. In 2016, Tsutsui appointed Hendrix’s first Chief Diversity Officer (who was also the first among Associated Colleges of the South schools to report directly to the president) and created a standing committee on diversity and inclusion on the College’s Board of Trustees. During Tsutsui's tenure, Hendrix secured three of the five largest individual gifts in its history, including $26 million from the estate of Mary Ann Dawkins and $10.5 million from the Windgate Foundation. In October 2016, the college launched Be Hendrix, a $110-million fundraising campaign. A new 16,000-square-foot campus welcome center opened in September 2017 and the Miller Creative Quad, a $17-million mixed-use project combining student housing, a museum of art, music facilities, and an auditorium, began housing students in 2019.
At SMU, Tsutsui led the development and implementation of Dedman College’s first strategic plan; raised over $25 million for the College as part of SMU’s Second Century Campaign; oversaw the creation of a new visual identity and marketing plan for the College; and established the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, the Center for Drug Discovery, Design, and Delivery, three new majors, three new minors, a graduate
certificate, two master’s degrees, and a joint Ph.D. in biostatistics with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. At KU, he led the planning and establishment of the Center for Global and International Studies; coordinated efforts to win $8 million in federal funding for KU’s five area studies centers; and created a range of new programs for study abroad in East Asia, service learning, distance education in Chinese language, and professional development for K-12 teachers.
President Tsutsui is the author of Manufacturing Ideology: Scientific Management in Twentieth-Century Japan (Princeton, 1998), Banking Policy in Japan: American Efforts at Reform During the Occupation (Routledge, 1988), Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004; Japanese edition, Chuo Koron Shinsha, 2005), and Japanese Popular Culture and Globalization (Association for Asian Studies, 2010), as well as numerous articles on modern Japanese history. He has also edited Banking in Japan (3 vols, Routledge, 1999), In Godzilla's Footsteps: Japanese Pop Culture Icons on the Global Stage (with Michiko Ito, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), A Companion to Japanese History (Blackwell, 2006), and The East Asian Olympiads, 1934-2008: Building Bodies and Nations in Japan, Korea, and China (with Michael Baskett, Global Oriental, 2011). He has received Fulbright, ACLS, and Marshall fellowships, and was awarded the Newcomen Society Award for Excellence in Business History in 1998, the John Whitney Hall Prize of the Association for Asian Studies in 2000, the William Rockhill Nelson Prize for Non-Fiction in 2005, and the inaugural Bridges to Friendship Award from the Japan America Society of Greater Austin in 2015.
An outspoken supporter of the public humanities, he is a past president of the Kansas State Historical Society, former program committee chair of the Kansas Humanities Council, former chair of the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies, and a former member of the board of the World Affairs Council of Dallas-Fort Worth. He currently chairs the board of the Federation of State Humanities Councils. He also serves on the board of EIIA (a national non-profit insurance provider for colleges and universities) and the US-Japan Council, is a member of the Accountability Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), and is on the board of directors of the Conway Chamber of Commerce. In 2018, he participated in the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC) hosted by the Secretary of Defense, the oldest and most prestigious public liaison program in the Department of Defense.
President Tsutsui’s research and teaching focus on the business, environmental, and cultural history of twentieth-century Japan. His current projects include studies of the environmental impact of World War II on Japan, the Japanese fishing industry, and the history of the phrase “Made in Japan.” He has taught a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses on the history of East Asia, modern Japan, and the Pacific War, as well as two award-winning online courses. While at the University of Kansas, he was a faculty fellow at the Center for Teaching Excellence, received a 2001 William T. Kemper Award for Teaching Excellence, and won the Steeples Faculty Award for service to the people of Kansas and the Woodyard International Educator Award. Since 2000, he has written and administered individual and institutional grants totaling over $5.5 million from a variety of external funders.
President Tsutsui has a longstanding commitment to professional development for K-12 educators, world language education in the schools, and curriculum development in international education and social studies. He chaired the Kansas Committee for International Education in the Schools, directed the Kansas Consortium for Teaching about Asia, and was co-project director on a $661,000 Teaching American History grant from the U.S. Department of Education. In 2013, he served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Education of the Dallas Independent School District. As part of his strong personal and professional interest in diversity issues, he has served as the chair of the Diversity Committee of the American Society for Environmental History, been active in the U.S.-Japan Council (including participation in the 2011 Japanese-American Leadership Delegation), and given numerous talks to public, corporate, and school audiences for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.