Founding of the University

Waseda University started life as Tokyo Senmon Gakko (Tokyo College) on October 21, 1882. In the early years it was also commonly known as the Waseda Gakko (Waseda School) or Totsuka Gakko (Totsuka School), after the location of founder Shigenobu Okuma’s villa in the village of Waseda and the school’s location in Totsuka Village.

Around 1892, the vernacular name Waseda Gakko became prevalent, and the institution was formally renamed Waseda Daigaku (Waseda University) upon acquiring university designation in 1902.

Chronology

1882 - 1944

Year Event
1882 Tokyo Senmon Gakko (College) founded by Shigenobu Okuma with the Departments of Political Science, Law, English, and Physical Science.
1890 Department of Literature established.
1893 Graduate courses launched in the Department of Literature.
1900 Faculty members sent to Europe and America for the first time under the newly-established Foreign Travel Scholarships for faculty members.
1902 University Library building completed. Acquisition of university status. Renamed Waseda University, the institution comprised Schools of Political Science & Economics, Law, and Literature, seven senmon-bu (junior colleges), and a single graduate school.
1903 School of Education established.
1904 University status acquired under Senmon Gakko School Act. School of Commerce established.
1905 School for Chinese students established (closed in 1910).
1909 School of Science and Engineering established.
1920 Chartered under the newly enacted University Act comprising five undergraduate schools: Political Science and Economics, Law, Literature, Commerce, and Science and Engineering; Department of Commerce added as a professional training division.
First Higher School (3-year course) newly launched.
1922 Death of Shigenobu Okuma, founder of the University.
The campus overflows with students trying to get a look at the famous scientist when Albert Einstein comes to give a lecture at Waseda.
1925 New University Library and Student Hall completed.
1927 Okuma Auditorium completed.
1928 Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum completed.
1933 Administration Building, Gymnasium, and Television Laboratory completed.
1938 Kagami Memorial Laboratory for Materials Science and Technology established.
1939 Coeducation introduced.
1940 Science and Engineering Research Laboratory established.
Institute of Social Sciences established.

1945 -

Year Event
1945 Imperial Memorial Hall, Okuma Kaikan faculty club, First Higher School Building, and Science and Engineering Research Laboratory Building destroyed by air-raids.
Reconstruction and renovation started.
1949 Four-year college curricula established, with eleven schools, in accordance with the new education law.
Waseda Senior High School started as an affiliated school.
1951 Graduate Schools (master’s degree programs) under the new educational program established, with six Schools.
Two new graduate school buildings, one for Humanities and Social Sciences and the other for Science and Engineering, completed.
1953 Graduate Schools (doctoral degree programs) established.
1956 Waseda has turned out many politicians including several prime ministers since Tanzan Ishibashi, the first Waseda alumnus to be elected P.M.
Systems Science Institute established.
1957 Together with Tanzan Ishibashi, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru is the first recipient of an honorary doctorate from Waseda.
1958 Advanced Teacher’s Training Course established.
Institute of Comparative Law established.
1959 Center for Informatics established.
1962 Institute of Language Teaching established.
Robert Kennedy attends a student debate in the Okuma Auditorium. On his return to the United States he published an account of his travels “Just Friends and Brave Enemies”, donating the royalties to Waseda to create the Robert Kennedy Scholarship.
1963 International Division established.
1966 School of Social Sciences (Evening Division only) established.
1968 Evening Division of the School of Science and Engineering abolished.
1973 Evening Divisions of the Schools of Political Science and Economics, Law, and Commerce abolished.
1974 Institute for Research in Business Administration established.
1978 Institute for Research in Contemporary Political & Economic Affairs established.
1979 Herbert von Karajan receives an honorary doctorate. In commemoration of his visit, the longtime resident counductor of the Berlin Philharmonic conducts the Waseda Symphony Orchestra.
1981 Extension Center established.
1982 Waseda Honjo Senior High School started as an affiliated school. First centennial anniversary of the founding celebrated.
1987 School of Human Sciences established.
Advanced Research Center for Human Sciences established.
1988 Center for Japanese Language established.
1990 Graduate School of Education established.
Center for Scholarly Information established.
1991 Graduate School of Human Sciences established.
1993 Advanced Research Center for Science and Engineering established.
Bill Clinton gives a lecture at the Okuma Auditorium followed by a friendly question and answer session with students.
1994 Graduate School of Social Sciences founded.
1995 Nelson Mandela is awarded an honorary doctorate and speaks passionately about democracy and peace in his recipient’s address.
1996 Media Network Center established to allow integration of Center for Informatics and other units working on information systems.
1997 Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies established as successor to the former Institute of Social Science and the Systems Science Institute.
1998 Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies established.
Aizu Museum founded.
Global Information and Telecommunication Institute established.
Institute for Advanced Studies in Education established.
In the first official visit to Japan by a Chinese head of state, President Jiang Zemin gives a lecture at the Okuma Auditorium.
1999 Human Service Center established.
2000 Graduate School of Global Information and Telecommunication Studies established.
Open Education Center established.
Kyushu Laboratory, Advanced Research Institute for Science and Engineering established.
2001 Graduate School of Japanese Applied Linguistics established.
Art and Architecture School replaced College of Technology.
Student Union Building (Toyama Campus) completed.
Comprehensive Research Organization established.
Research and Development Center established.
2002 Distance Learning Center established.
Hirayama Ikuo Memorial Volunteer Center established.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo becomes the third Philippines President to receive an honorary doctorate.
2003 School of Sport Sciences established.
Graduate School of Information, Production and Systems established.
Okuma School of Public Management, Graduate School of Information, Production and Systems established.
Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies (MOT) Established.
e-school within School of Human Sciences established.
Kawaguchi Art School established.
2004 School of International Liberal Studies established.
Department of Global Political Economy established within the Faculty of Political Science and Economics.
Waseda Law School established.
Graduate School of Finance, Accounting and Law established.
President of Academia Sinica and Nobel Prize Laureate in chemistry, Yuan Tseh Lee receives an honorary doctorate in recognition of great contributions to humankind as a scientist.
2005 Graduate School of Accountancy established.
Chairman and Chief Software Architect of Microsoft Corp. William Henry “Bill” Gates III receives an honorary doctorate. Gates gives a memorable speech with a message, “I look forward to the contributions that today’s university students will make to the world”.
2006 Graduate School of Sport Sciences established.
Wangari Muta Maathai, the Nobel laureate for Peace receives an honorary doctorate in recognition of her civilian efforts in achieving peace and environmental sustainability, as represented by the Green Belt Movement.
2007 Schools of Letters, Arts and Sciences I and II were reorganized into School of Culture, Media and Society and School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
School of Science and Engineering was reorganized into School of Fundamental Science and Engineering, School of Creative Science and Engineering, and School of Advanced Science and Engineering.
Graduate School of Science and Engineering was reorganized into Graduate School of Creative Science and Engineering, Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering, and Graduate School of Environment and Energy Engineering.
125th anniversary.
Henry A. receives an honorary doctorate in recognition of his contribution to the world peace. He emphasized the importance of international cooperation to students in his recipient’s address.
2008 Graduate School of Teacher Education established.
The Tokyo Women’s Medical University-Waseda University Joint Institution for Advanced Biomedical Sciences (TWIns) established.
National Chairman of China Hu Jintao visits Waseda University for speech on future-oriented amity to next term’s Japanese and Chinese youth.
100th anniversary of Faculty of Science and Engineering.
US-Japan Research Institute (USJI) established.
2009 Waseda Setsyryo Junior High School, High School opens.
Waseda BioScience Research Institute in Singapore (WABIOS) established.
Special lecture by Kim Young-Sam, former President of the Republic of Korea.
George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States of America, gives special talk.
2010 Cooperative Major in Advanced Biomedical Sciences (with Tokyo Woman’s Medical Universit) opens.
Cooperative Major in Nuclear Energy (with Tokyo City University) opens.
Cooperative Major in Advanced Health Science (with Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology) opens.
Waseda Saga Junior High School, High School opens.
Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon visits Waseda University for speech on “Peace and Disarmament” and dialogue with students.
2011 Office for Aiding Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake established.
Center for Research on Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake established.

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