William Tsutsui joined the Kansas Humanities Council’s Speakers Bureau while on the faculty at the University of Kansas (KU) nearly 15 years ago. After three years of service in the Speakers Bureau, Tsutsui joined the council’s board of directors, serving as the chair of the Program Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee. Additionally, Tsutsui served as the associate dean for international studies at the College of Arts & Sciences at KU, where he was also a history professor and the director of the Kansas Consortium for Teaching about Asia at the university’s Center for East Asian Studies. At KU, Tsutsui created a relationship with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Army at Fort Leavenworth to benefit students and research programs in East Asian Studies. He was also the founding executive director of the Confusius Institute at Kansas University, a joint partnership of the university, the Chinese Ministry of Education and Central China Normal University. Through these efforts, Tsutsui developed relationships with the Kansas Department of Education, the Chinese-American heritage community and Kansas City corporations. In addition, Tsutsui generated almost $5 million in new funds to support outreach and public programming in East Asian Studies, with funds primarily coming from foundations and corporate donors.
After 17 years at KU, Tsutsui moved to Southern Methodist University (SMU) where he led the university’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, largest of SMU’s seven colleges and schools, as dean and professor of history. As SMU, he raised more than $7 million for a new Interdisciplinary Institute as well as endowments for new professorships and major gifts to support programs in areas including human rights and public policy.
A specialist in modern Japanese business and economic history, Tsutsui has published many books examining topics from banking policy to Godzilla. In the summer of 2014, Tsutsui was named the eleventh president of Hendrix College in Conway, AR. His wife, Dr. Marjorie Swann, has also joined the Hendrix College faculty as a professor of English.