Sealing a Friendship: “Stingers up!”
Univ. of Shizuoka President Visits English Language Institute


When the president of Japan’s University of Shizuoka heard Sacramento State’s motto, “Redefine the possible,” during his first visit to the university, and when he flashed the signature pinkie salute, he felt an immediate kinship. Dr. Hiroshi Kito, who translated his university’s motto as “for the community, with the community,” wanted students back home to have a similar sense of belonging and have their future serve the greater good. 

The motto “reflects our desire to educate students to be community leaders who can create future possibilities for our local area, and in turn for our country,” Kito explained.

The partnership between the two universities began several years ago through a memorandum of understanding, with Japanese students enrolling in the English Language Institute. The month-long American Language and Culture program improved their reading, writing and conversational skills and gave them a taste of everyday life in America, from cooking meals at home to finding bargains at the mall.

“Based on the great success of the four-week English language program, we are now ready to extend our relationship,” Kito said. The universities now plan ”reciprocal programs in a wide range of academic fields for students as well as faculty and administrative staff in the coming year.”

On their way to lunch, Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen invited Kito to stop in the University Union and pose with ”Stingers up!” Later, when he asked what the gesture meant, he learned the university mascot is a hornet, and the stinger actually signifies friendship and fun.

Reflecting on his first visit to Sacramento State, Kito said, ”I was impressed by the many young energetic students studying and playing sports on campus. I could see that the university has a bright future.”

For more information on the American Language and Culture program, please visit