Japan dean candidates have surprise ties to university (The Temple News: 11/27/07)

By Christopher Wink | Nov. 27, 2007 | The Temple News

Matthew J. Wilson thought it was strange that Ann Weaver Hart was born and raised in Salt Lake City when he first heard nearly two years ago that she was a top candidate to become Temple University’s ninth president.

Wilson, 37, the associate dean of and chief legal counsel for Temple University Japan, was finishing Asian studies and political science degrees from the University of Utah in 1995, while Hart was the dean of the school’s graduate program in education.

“It made me look twice,” Wilson said.

Hart was elected Temple’s first female president on May 4, 2006, and Wilson, who was in Philadelphia to interview to replace the retiring dean of the Japan Campus recently, is bringing the coincidence to light. Those involved are careful to mention that it is just that: coincidence.

“I didn’t know this until I first met him not long ago,” Hart said last week.

Still, the happenstance continues.

While the two didn’t know each other then, Hart explained her husband Randy met Wilson’s father, Jim, while they were studying law at Utah.

Hart’s ties to Wilson, who is one of two finalists to become the next dean of TUJ, go even further.

“My mother went to the same high school as President Hart and her husband,” said Wilson, who first visited Japan as a teenager during a yearlong mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “But she was two years younger.”

Wilson’s competition for the TUJ dean position also has coincidental ties to high-level Temple staff.

Bruce Stronach, 57, current president of Yokohama City University, attended the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, the very same as Dr. Kirk R. Patterson, the man Stronach is jockeying to replace as dean of TUJ.

Patterson announced his impending retirement Aug. 27, effective at the end of this calendar year. During his tenure, TUJ has seen sizable enrollment increases and a stabilization of longtime budget concerns.

Christopher Wink can be reached at cwink@temple.edu

Text as it appeared in the 11/27/07 edition of The Temple News. See it here. This is part of an ongoing series, see the original story here.