KSU Alumna Pays it Forward with Takada Scholarship

Thursday's Signing of the Scholarship

KSU President Ken Harmon with Hideo and Karen Takada at Thursday's scholarship signing.

A generous gift to Kennesaw State University (KSU) from Hideo and Karen Takada could be the catalyst for a KSU student in need to achieve their dreams of traveling abroad.

The Takada Scholarship for International Education contract was officially signed on Thursday of last week and was granted to its inaugural recipient, Samantha Rudd, this Saturday at the Division of Global Affairs (DGA) International Achievement Awards.

Hideo and Karen Takada are no strangers to travel. They both passionately believe that experiencing another country helps to broaden world views and significantly impacts people’s understanding of the rest of the world. After participating in three trips abroad at KSU, Mrs. Takada concluded that an education abroad course is the most important course anyone could take, and she made it her mission to help as many people study abroad as she could.

Mrs. Takada, who retired from her 25-year career in broadcast sales, decided to go back to school after her marriage to Mr. Takada in 2008. She wanted to be a citizen of the world, which was one of the reason she decided to study at KSU.

 “I was attracted to Kennesaw because of their world view,” she said.

Mrs. Takada experienced first-hand the impact of studying abroad and how it can change lives. She had a conversation with her professor, Howard Shealy, while she was abroad in Montepulciano, Italy. He told her about a young woman who was qualified to be there, but financially could not afford it.

 “I told him to let me know if that situation ever happened again because I’d like to help,” she said.

Karen Takada signs the document.

Partnering with her husband, Mrs. Takada began developing the groundwork for what would eventually blossom into the  Takada Scholarship.

Mr. Takada fully supports his wife’s mission and shares her desire to help students go abroad. 

Due to the generosity of a Minnesota native Mr. Takada met in Nikko Japan when he was only 19 years old, he was able to visit and travel around the United States. Mr. Takada has been in every state in the union except for Alaska, so his value for travel comes as no surprise.

Now, he is in a position where he can give back and pay forward the kindness that he experienced when he was a young man.

“Experiencing another country impacted the way that I view life, so if I can afford to help others, it is my pleasure,” he said.  

Largely inspired by the gift Todd and Christie Emerson made for the Emerson Scholarship for International Education, the Takadas wanted to donate a gift that could go on for years. After working with the university to establish their scholarship, they have done just that.

The Takada Scholarship is uniquely reserved for education abroad trips outside of Western Europe. The Takadas decided this would be an opportunity for KSU students to test the boundaries of their education by going places outside of the ordinary. Plus, the financial burden of traveling outside of Western Europe is often higher.

For KSU students planning to study abroad, Mrs. Takada had some sage advice to offer.

“Take advantage of the study abroad office. They can help you find the money. It is the most vital thing that you can do for your education,” she said.

For Vice Provost and Chief International Officer Lance Askildson, the scholarship is an important contribution to continuing international education at KSU.  

“These types of gifts are important not only because of the financial support that they provide to our students, but also because they symbolize the transformative power of international experience and our institutional commitment to infusing our university with this sensibility,” he said.

The Takadas with inagural recipient Samantha Rudd

The Takadas with Samantha Rudd at Saturday's International Achievement Awards Banquet

For inaugural recipient Samantha Rudd who studies History at KSU, this scholarship will help her to achieve her dreams.

“I have never left the States. Without this scholarship, I don’t know that I would ever be able to travel outside the country," she said.

The Takada scholarship will offer KSU students like Rudd the opportunity to experience a foreign culture and improve their understanding of not only the world but also themselves. For the Takadas, the scholarship is their way to pay it forward and help someone experience the world just as they have.

-Anna Barnes