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University of the Ryukyus Project records

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-

Scope and Contents

Series 1: HISTORICAL FILE. 1955, 1956, 1959, 1963, undated. 9 items. Publications, introductions to reports, articles, news releases, etc., which summarize the history of the project. No arrangement.

Series 2: Records of the Michigan State University Advisory Group - Ryukyus Office. Consists of sub-series 1-6.

1. LIST OF MEMORANDA FOR THE RECORD. 1964-1966. 1 item. Chronological list of memoranda and letters written by chiefs of party from 1964 to 1966. Most of the actual correspondence is filed in the Administrative Correspondence series.

2. ADMINISTRATIVE SUBJECT FILES. 1951-1968. 1.5 cubic feet. Correspondence, informal reports, long-range planning documents, surveys, legal records, notes, and publications relating to the operation of the University of the Ryukyus and the University of the Ryukyus Foundation, as well as the activities of the MSU Advisory Group. Files for the U.S. Civil Administration of the Ryukyus Islands (USCAR) document the close cooperation between that agency and the MSU advisors on matters of public education. Other files report on continuing education, efforts to provide additional training for Ryukyan faculty, the experimental program for teaching English as a foreign language, and the medical program. See the Container Listing for a more detailed enumeration of subjects documented by the series. Arranged alphabetically by general subject.

3. ADMINISTRATIVE CORRESPONDENCE. 1951-1969, undated. 0.9 cubic feet. Correspondence and memoranda to the files of the various chiefs of party. These discuss the difficulties of building an educational institution in the Ryukyus Islands. Specific topics include personnel, social functions, dormitory conditions, visits of professors from Michigan State University and other American academic institutions, operating procedures, and educational programs. Of particular interest is a letter (1960) from Karl T. Wright, then Chief of Party for the MSU Group, candidly expressing the problems he encountered due to USCAR personnel, inefficiency, and "red tape." Correspondents include John G. Ondrich, Civil Administrator of the Ryukyus; Mr. Maeshiro, project business manager; and the U.S. Army High Command. Arranged chronologically.

4. PHYSICAL PLANT RECORDS. 1953-1967, undated. 0.2 cubic feet. General planning information, correspondence, and budget documents relating to the construction of specific buildings on the university campus. Arranged alphabetically by building name.

5. FISCAL RECORDS. 1956-1970. 0.4 cubic feet. Budget requests, proposed and expected budgets, salary classification lists, expenditure reports, and correspondence. Fiscal records relating to the MSU contract with the U.S. Department of the Army are also filed here. Arranged alphabetically by record type.

6. VISIT FILES. 1952-1970. 0.6 cubic feet. Correspondence, reception rosters, and itineraries of Michigan State University administrators and professors who visited the University of the Ryukyus, and Ryukyan students and professors who visited Michigan State University. Arranged alphabetically by visitor's name.

Series 3: Records of the Dean of International Programs Office. Consists of sub series 1-11.

1. U.S. GOVERNMENT CONTRACT FILES. 1952-1967. 0.3 cubic feet. Contracts between the United States Army and Michigan State University with related correspondence. Of particular interest is a letter to MSU President John Hannah explaining why Michigan State University was selected as sponsor and consultant to the University of the Ryukyus. Arranged chronologically.

2. REPORTS. 1951-1968, undated. 0.5 cubic feet. Biannual, semiannual, and quarterly reports prepared by the Chiefs of Party. These summarize project objectives and MSU Advisory Group activities. Also filed here are special reports on specific aspects of the project, and end-of-tour reports prepared by short-term consultants on curriculum development and the extension service. Arranged by report type and thereunder chronologically.

3. ADMINISTRATIVE SUBJECT FILES. 1952-1975. 1.2 cubic feet. General files compiled by the Dean of International Programs Office, including correspondence, reports, budgetary information, briefing notes, commencement information, resumes of consultants, etc. See Container Listing for an enumeration of subjects documented by the series. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

4. ADMINISTRATIVE CORRESPONDENCE. 1951-1975, undated. 1.4 cubic feet. Correspondence of Miller Perry, Assistant to the dean of International Programs, concerning contract negotiations between Michigan State University and the United States Army, operating procedures at the University of the Ryukyus, student activities, personnel matters, and visits to the Ryukyus by MSU professors. Correspondents include the U.S. Department of the Army, USCAR, members of the MSU Advisory Group, and administrators of the University of the Ryukyus. Arranged chronologically.

5. MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY-RYUKYUS EXCHANGE PROGRAM (MREP).1961-1966, undated. 0.4 cubic feet. Correspondence, faculty and student rosters, questionnaires, reports, financial statements, travel information, handbooks, and registration forms relating to the Michigan State University - Ryukyus Student Exchange Programs I (1964-1965) and II (1965-1966). Arranged by program and thereunder by record type.

6. TRIP REPORTS. 1953, 1955, 1956, 1959. 4 items. Trip reports made by MSU administrators who visited the Ryukyus. They review the progress made toward the project's objectives, current problems, and concerns of American governing authorities in Okinawa. No arrangement.

7. PERSONNEL RECORDS. 1948-1968, undated. 1.0 cubic feet. Biographical data, resumes, and trip reports of administrators and instructors at the University of the Ryukyus. Arranged alphabetically by name of employee.

8. UNIVERSITY OF THE RYUKYUS CATALOGS. 1951-1970. 6 items. Catalogs describing the faculty, curriculum, and student regulations. Catalogs for 1954-1955 and 1960-1968 are missing. Arranged chronologically.

9. REFERENCE FILES. 1944-1973, undated. 0.6 cubic feet. Monographs, articles, reports, and various U.S. and Ryukyan government publications on Asian education, Japanese universities, the history and geography of the Ryukyus Islands, the US administration of the Islands, and the University of the Ryukyus. Brochures published by the University of the Ryukyus are also found here. Arranged by type of publication.

10. MANUSCRIPT MAPS AND BUILDING PLANS. circa 1950s-1960s. 49 items. Hand-drawn and blueprint maps of the Ryukyus Islands and the campus. Architectural drawings for University buildings. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

11. MOTION PICTURES. circa early 1960s. 6 reels. Movie film (16 mm) showing campus buildings, academic instruction, classrooms, students and gatherings of American and Ryukyus officials. None of the films have sound. Reel numbers 355-358 are negatives and all were reprinted to positive on Reel 360. Reel number 359 is a color positive film.

Series 4: Photographs

Oversize Photographs


  • Creation: 1944 - 1975


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. There are restrictions on Personnel files.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Historical Note

In 1951, the American Council of Education in conjunction with the U.S. Department of the Army selected Michigan State University to develop a program of assistance to the newly established University of the Ryukyus. MSU enthusiastically accepted the assignment, and the same year negotiated a contract with the U.S. Department of the Army, which was repeatedly renewed through 1968.

Under the contract, MSU faculty stationed in the Ryukyus worked closely with the U.S. Civil Administration of the Ryukyus Islands (USCAR) and Ryukyan educators to develop the new university based on the American land-grant college model. MSU's effort focused primarily on upgrading the faculty and improving the physical plant, but members of the advisory group also helped establish courses of study, inaugurated research programs, determined academic requirements, and improved instructional methods. The project also brought numerous Ryukyan faculty to the United States. In addition, the MSU Group advised the U.S. Civil Administrator concerning higher education at private universities in Okinawa, and prepared programs for improving high school English language instruction and instituting vocational training.

The University of the Ryukyus Project was administered by the head, or "chief of party," of the MSU Advisory Group in the Ryukyus Islands, and the MSU Dean of International Programs in East Lansing. This joint administration is reflected in the organization of the files.

Project participants came from a wide variety of academic disciplines. Regular advisory group members usually served for a period of one to two years; other MSU faculty members accepted short-term assignments.

Chiefs of Party: Russell Horwood, 1952 Ernst J. Wheeler, 1953-1954 Barnard D. Kuhn, 1955 Carl D. Mead, 1956 Roy Alexander, 1957 Karl Wright, 1958-1959 Richard Fell, 1960-1961 Raymond Hatch, 1962 Thomas King, 1963 Iwao Ishino, 1963-1965 Jack Stockton, 1965-1967 Forrest Erlandson, 1967-1968


11 Cubic Feet (Also 6 films)

Language of Materials


Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

University of the Ryukyus Project Records
4 Published And Cataloged
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US