Japan to honor OSU Professor Emeritus Jones

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo announced this week that it will honor Oklahoma State University Professor Emeritus Larry D. Jones with a special commendation for more than 25 years of contributions toward strengthening Japan-U.S. relations. Jones will receive the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Commendation from ministry officials who will travel to Stillwater later this year for formal ceremonies to present the award, which will be wrapped in pure silk to commemorate the occasion.

“I am very honored and humbled to be selected for this commendation. It has been a privilege for me to work with others in our community and in Japan to promote and foster international friendship and understanding through Stillwater’s Sister Cities program,” said Jones. “OSU has also provided wonderful opportunities to work with international students in my classes as well as participate in international education projects in Japan.”

Jones calls his interaction with Japan and its culture “natural” since Kayo, his wife of more than 53 years, is a native of Japan and the couple have traveled there many times to visit her family and take part in sister cities activities. “My interest in the culture and customs of people from other countries started with her and the people of her country. In addition to living and working in several countries, we have traveled throughout Japan and had the opportunity to spend two years in Kameoka.”

The Honorable Lloyd Hardin, the Honorary Consul General of Japan for Oklahoma, emphasized that such commendations are awarded only after decades of effort by individuals who have made significant contributions to the promotion of cultural and educational exchanges with Japan.

“The Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation evidences the high esteem in which Dr. Larry Jones is held by the Japanese people and the government of Japan. The bridges of friendship he built on the foundation of the Stillwater - Kameoka Sister City relationship are a legacy that will last forever within the international community,” said Hardin, speaking on behalf of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Born and raised in Perkins, Jones entered the U.S. Armed Forces and spent time in Japan and Korea in the Army Signal Corps. While in Japan, he met and married Kayo whose home is Kyoto, which is also the ancestral home and historical capitol of the Japanese imperial family.

After his discharge from the military, Jones enrolled at OSU and completed his B.S. degree, accepting a position at the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he worked on a linear accelerator project. From Los Alamos, he moved to Orange County California where he served as an aerospace engineer on the Apollo-Saturn project that put man on the moon.

Jones completed the requirements for his M.S. and doctorate at OSU, and spent a year in Algeria where he taught at the National Institute for Electricity and Electronics. He joined the OSU faculty in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology in 1979 and taught electronics and computer technology.

During his 20 years at OSU, Jones was involved in educational projects in Pakistan, Jordan and Japan. He lived and worked in Jordan for six months and spent two years in Japan as the associate director of the former OSU-K campus in Kameoka.

For more than twenty five years, Jones has been actively involved in Stillwater’s sister cities program with Kameoka, Kyoto, Japan. He was a charter member and president of the Kameoka Sister City Council. He has traveled through all 47 of Japan’s prefectures, which is analogous to visiting our 50 states, which he has also accomplished.

Jones has a great appreciation for Japanese culture, especially Japanese landscape gardens and has visited many gardens throughout the country. He and his wife led a group from Stillwater to Japan in November 2007. During that trip the group traveled through much of the southern half of Japan.

Kayo and Larry Jones prepare to cross Lake Ashi on a replica of a tall Japanese sailing ship. He credits Kayo for his natural interest and activities to build Japan-U.S. relations
Kayo and Larry Jones prepare to cross Lake Ashi on a replica of a tall Japanese sailing ship. He credits Kayo for his natural interest and activities to build Japan-U.S. relations
Dr. Larry Jones visiting with elementary students in Kameoka. He will soon be honored for 25 years of strengthening Japan-U.S. relations.
Dr. Larry Jones visiting with elementary students in Kameoka. He will soon be honored for 25 years of strengthening Japan-U.S. relations.