Commencement and Reunion weekend at The Fletcher School is always a bittersweet occasion. As we gather to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates, we also say farewell to these friends as they head out on new adventures.

This year, the Fletcher community also celebrated and wished a very fond farewell to one of our most treasured faculty members who is retiring after 30 years of scholarship and service: John Curtis Perry, Henry Willard Denison Professor of Japanese Diplomacy.

Through his teaching, writing and leadership—which included founding two fundamental programs, the North Pacific Program and the Maritime Studies Program—John will continue to have an enduring impact on the world long after he retires from teaching.

It was my pleasure to welcome to the celebration John’s family and distinguished guests, which included the Consul General of Japan; the Consul General of Korea; former Fletcher dean Ambassador Stephen W. Bosworth; Ambassador Walter Cutler; President of the Japan Foundation George Packard; and former student Matt Auer, Dean of Faculty at Bates College. We also heard from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who sent his warm wishes via a letter that was read by Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professor of Korea Studies Sung-Yoon Lee.

In a display of their affection and deep respect, more than 300 faculty, students, staff, alumni and friends from around the world joined together to listen to John’s farewell lecture, “Valedictory Musings.” I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did.


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