Strong family and mentor relationships have laid the foundation for Japan House's forthcoming annex project. Dr. George Ogura, a loyal Japan House supporter who recently died at age 100, made a $1 million outright lead gift for an addition to this treasured campus jewel.
Professor Emeritus Shozo Sato, founder of Japan House, and his wife, Alice, also generously contributed. Shozo and Alice, who is Ogura's sister, recently matched George's lead gift in addition to their original donation, a charitable gift annuity established with the proceeds from the sale of the Ogura family home in Denver, Colorado, which will eventually support maintenance of the addition. In honor of these families' strong ties to Japan House, the new wing will be named the Ogura-Sato Annex.
Actor and comedian Nick Offerman (FAA '93), who enrolled in classes taught by Professor Sato while a theatre student at Illinois, has remained close with his sensei and continues a valued friendship with Japan House. Offerman's contribution to the annex, which includes all proceeds from his two recent performances in Champaign-Urbana, helped to make the project a reality.
The 5,600-square-foot addition will provide much-needed meeting and library space for Japan House interns, calligraphy classes, offices, and storage space for growing collections. The addition will also offer improved accessibility for visitors with physical disabilities, supporting greater inclusion in tea ceremonies and other cultural activities. A groundbreaking is expected within the next year.
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