How the University's First Ph.D. Graduate Strengthened Ties Between Chicago and Japan
In the late 1880s, a young Japanese scholar named Eiji Asada came to the Chicago area to pursue a bachelor’s degree in theology. He took a summer course from William Rainey Harper, and the two developed a friendship based on their shared interest in Semitic studies and linguistics.
When Harper became the first president of the University of Chicago, he convinced Asada to pursue graduate studies at his new university. There, Asada studied theology and linguistics, graduating as the University’s first Ph.D. recipient on June 26, 1893—a milestone for the institution, which had been founded three years earlier.