The University of Maryland University College received a $1 million endowment yesterday from Japan's C. Itoh & Co. that will go toward establishing an international management school.
The new school, the Institute for Global Management in College Park, is intended to research the complexities of international business and train corporate managers. It will focus primarily on cultural diversity, new communications technologies and corporate responsibility issues, including environmental concerns and technology transfer.
"This is a sharp rebuff to isolationists," said Donald N. Langenberg, chancellor of the University of Maryland, during presentation ceremonies at the university yesterday.
Although the institute will train corporate managers from all over the world, Maryland businesses should benefit in particular by having increased access to potential trading partners, said Jim Cramer, a University College faculty member who is helping develop the institute.
The relationship between University College and C. Itoh began six years ago when C. Itoh, the world's largest trading company, approached the college's International Business and Management Institute in Tokyo for assistance in developing training programs.
Over the years, University College has helped teach Japanese management techniques to C. Itoh employees around the world.
Ichiro Kanade, chief operating officer of C. Itoh in the United States, said the company was interested in the idea of the management institute. "If better methodologies can be developed, it will greatly help management strategies throughout the world and help create a better society," he said.
Mr. Kanade said joint efforts such as the one between C. Itoh and University College also can help ease frictions between Japan and the United States. "I think many of the frictions stem from a lack of understanding," he said. "Good friends and good business partners such as the University of Maryland and C. Itoh can set the stage for new understanding."
The gift is the first C. Itoh has made to a U.S. university, Mr. Kanade said.
The endowment will be used to generate money for the new institute's operating budget, which is estimated to be $150,000 in the first year. The remainder of the operating funds will come from state grants, from University College's funds and from charges for the institute's services. University College also is continuing to seek other corporate sponsors.
T. Benjamin Massey, president of University College, said the new institute will begin to develop programs once a director is hired. University officials said the institute's work will begin within a year.
University College is in College Park and is part of the University of Maryland system. It has about 40,000 adult, part-time students at 21 locations in the state and 250 locations in 22 countries.