Authentic Japanese Garden Set for Completion, Unveiling June 28

Authentic Japanese Garden Set for Completion, Unveiling June 28
A rendering of the George and Sakaye Aratani Japanese Garden.
George Aratani, who provided a lead gift for the garden, says it will provide “beauty and serenity to the academic setting.”

Cal Poly Pomona?s scenic Japanese garden will officially open at a dedication ceremony on Saturday, June 28, at 5 p.m. The campus community is invited to attend.

The 1.3-acre George and Sakaye Aratani Japanese Garden, adjacent to the CLA Building and the W.K. Kellogg Commemorative Rose Garden, will flourish with traditional Asian flora and create a small slice of peaceful paradise in the midst of campus. The garden features a large reflection pond, a cascading waterfall, overlooking bridges, walkways, a small amphitheater, new lighting and more. A fountain for the garden will be donated by this year's senior class as a gift to the university.

The garden is named after the Aratanis, whose generous lead gift helped to transform an existing natural spring-fed pond on campus into an authentic Japanese garden.

?The subject of creating a Japanese garden in the core of the campus came up during a campus tour with President Suzuki and I was instantly drawn to the idea,? says George Aratani, chairman emeritus of Mikasa and Kenwood Americas, who donated $300,000 toward building the garden. ?It will be the perfect thing to improve the campus focal point, providing beauty and serenity to the academic setting to be enjoyed by generations of students and campus visitors.?

In addition to the Aratani gift, the university also received a generous donation of $100,000 from the Michi Weglyn Estate in honor of President and Mrs. Bob Suzuki. Weglyn, who passed away in April 1999, was a prominent Japanese-American author and humanitarian, a strong supporter of the university and a personal friend of the Suzukis. Weglyn?s contribution to the garden will be recognized in the form of the Weglyn Stone Garden and Jacaranda Trees.

A Japanese garden provides natural beauty for quiet reflection, secluded leisure, meditation and an enhanced educational experience. The garden fosters an appreciation of nature and Japanese culture as well as reflects the university?s interest in international education.

?Our new Japanese garden is a wonderful addition to this campus, serving as an educational resource for our students and faculty, while also creating an oasis for everyone to enjoy the splendor of nature,? says Jim Collins, chairman emeritus of Sizzler International (now Worldwide Restaurant Concepts Inc.). Aratani and Collins serve as co-chairs of the project?s development committee.

?A garden is an excellent metaphor for education,? says Collins. ?By planting seeds and nurturing their growth, we realize a thing of beauty. What better way to enhance a university campus??

The Aratani Garden was designed by Takeo Uesugi, professor of landscape architecture at Cal Poly Pomona. Uesugi received a design award for being the principal landscape architect of the Pine Wind Japanese Garden at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center.

ValleyCrest Landscape Development began construction of the garden in February and will complete the project this summer.

With an estimated completion cost of at $765,000, the garden is a budding example of how gifts greatly benefit the Cal Poly Pomona community. For Aratani, donating to such a unique endeavor seemed like a great way to support the university.

?I felt that I simply must contribute to such a project and am delighted to have found a way to show my appreciation to the Suzukis and the university for their commitment to providing an exceptional educational experience,? he says.

Support opportunities are still available for the naming of garden areas. In addition, the university is now working toward the establishment of a $1 million endowment to provide proper maintenance and support of the Aratani Garden. Through this endowment, the principal investment will be left intact and only the earnings will be used in funding a Master Gardener to supervise the year-round maintenance and coordinate an educational program to teach the principles of designing and building Japanese gardens.For more information about the Japanese garden or to obtain a copy of the brochure, contact Ron Simons, associate vice president for university development, at (909) 869-4996, or