Center Summary

The Montgomery Dickson Center for Japanese Language & Culture was established to commemorate Montgomery ('Monty') Dickson who perished in the March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. After graduating from UAA in May 2009 with a B.A. in Japanese, Monty participated in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program and taught English in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, Japan. Monty cherished Japanese culture, and it was his dream to be a bridge over the Pacific Ocean to connect his homeland and Japan. On the morning of March 11, Monty translated words by an internationally known Japanese author, Ryotaro Shiba, into English, "There's nothing as beautiful as dedicating one's life for a cause." 

The Dickson Center's mission is to fulfill Monty's dream and assist with UAA's ambition to further enrich and deepen mutual understanding and appreciation between Japan and Alaska by providing high quality Japanese language education at UAA. The Center's three main objectives are: 1) to encourage, complement, and expand Japanese Language instruction within UAA and throughout the State of Alaska, 2) to provide opportunities for Alaskans to experience, appreciate, understand, and enjoy high quality, significant, and culturally meaningful Japanese programs and events, and 3) to serve as a locus within the university for facilitating student and faculty exchanges, programmatic collaborations, and enhanced cooperation between Alaska and Japan.

The Dickson Center is located within the College of Arts and Sciences at UAA. Management of the Center is run by a director and coordinator position, advised by a community advisory board, and assisted by a steering committee comprised of UAA and public members including:

  • Ian Dutton, Vice President, Rasmuson Foundation
  • Sarah Leonard, President & COO, Alaska Travel Industry Association
  • Brandon Locke, Director, World Languages, Anchorage School District
  • Tim Rockwell, Executive Director and Co-Director, Miss AK Scholarship Foundation
  • Alex Salov, Business Operations Manager, World Trade Center Alaska
  • Katsuya Tanaka, Vice President, Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo LLC
  • Alexa Tonkovich, Asia & Emerging Markets Manager, AK Seafood Marketing Institute
  • Greg Wolf, Executive Director, World Trade Center Alaska

The Montgomery Dickson Center organizes and hosts Japanese cultural events, artists, exhibits, and lectures to benefit students and the public. The Dickson Center also facilitates student and faculty exchanges with Japanese universities; works to support enriching UAA's Japanese language curriculum; coordinates with UAA's Asian Studies and International Studies programs; and provides a point of contact and facilitation within the University for programs and faculty wishing to collaborate with Japanese counterparts or colleagues. Monty particularly cherished Japanese Tea Ceremony. The Center's Japanese Tea Room helps to explore the profound depth and beauty of tea ceremony, to make it more accessible to a greater number of people, and to serve as a special tribute to Monty's spirit.


The Montgomery Dickson Center is funded by a generous grant from the Japan Foundation and individual and corporate donors. Contributions may be made online at


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