March 31, 2023

Walter Mondale, right, presents the Mondale Award to Dean and Masako Potter. (JASM photo)

AAP staff report

Edina, Minn. (October 23, 2010) – The 13th Mondale Award Scholarship Dinner and Gala last month brought distinguished guests and speakers to the Edina Country Club on October 23. The annual formal event is an opportunity for formal kimono dressing, ikebana presentations and to honor community leaders and deserving students.

The honorable George Hisaeda, Consul General of Japan at Chicago, presented greetings and a toast after the opening of the program by talented Master of Ceremonies Peter Bailey. Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines, served as the evening keynote speaker.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan and Vice President Walter Mondale introduced Anderson, both of whom served on the board of Northwest Airlines.

Anderson spoke about the airlines and its unique relationship to the evolving landscape of Asia. He was pleased with the recently modified Open Air Treaty that allows Delta Air Lines to fly into Haneda Airport. He described it as the biggest development in air travel since 1952, and further established Japan as the major gateway to Asia.

Anderson concluded by commending Japan for the strength of its economy and the trust that makes investing in Japan a good choice.

JASM Vice President David Smith announced the Mondale Scholarships recipients, Laura Ullery and Julia Clark, who were not present as they were already studying in Japan.

Ullery is studying Asian Language and Literatures with a focus on Japanese at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is attending Sophia University through the Bilateral Exchange program and is using the Mondale Scholarship to study different Japanese dialects focusing mostly on the Kansai region.

After graduation, Ullery wants to pursue a career in Japanese translation and interpretation.

Clark majors in linguistics at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. She will is studying at the Associated Kyoto Program in Japan and is using her Mondale Scholarship to travel to Honshu to study the Miyagi dialect of Japanese.

The research she gathers will be used for her senior thesis.

Andrew Browne, a 2009 Mondale Scholarship recipient, spoke to guests to emphasize the importance of the scholarship in helping form close relationships between Minnesota and Japan.

Ambassador Walter Mondale was present to honor Dean and Masako Potter with the 2010 Mondale Award. The two were described as lifelong active, behind the scenes volunteers for JASM and many organizations at events and initiatives “quietly, steadily, selflessly, and with consistent excellence.”

Dean Potter is a U.S. Army veteran who served as a military policeman in the Korean War and in the postwar occupation of Japan, where initial efforts to marry were discouraged by his chain of command.

“Dean and Masako’s leadership showed early and in a very personal way when after the Korean War, their wish to marry caused a bill to be introduced and passed in the U.S. Congress to allow Masako to travel to Minnesota and marry Dean,” said Mondale in the presentation.

Dean has served the community as a writer for the Asian Pages and other publications for several years. He is has served as a JASM and St. Paul Nagasaki Sister City Organization board member

Masako has been a member of JASM and Saint Paul Nagasaki Sister City Committee and is a leader of the Mikuharu-kai Dancers, a classical Japanese and folk dance group that promotes Japanese culture through odori (dance).

Consul General of Chicago Hisaeda mentioned the Potter’s during his presentation, as a family that is a personal demonstration of cross-cultural leadership and collaboration.

Hisaeda went on to emphasize the importance of Japanese-American relationships in light of recent events involving Japanese and Chinese diplomacy. He also mentioned the possibility of incorporating Japanese technology into Minnesota infrastructure projects like the development of the light rail system.

The musical interlude was performed by flutist Barbara Leibundguth and accompanied by pianist Eri Furuya. Their performance piece was Suite for Flute and Piano by Claude Bolling.

Leibundguth has performed as principal flutist with major orchestras in Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Houston, and was a co-principal flutist with the Minnesota Orchestra for 20 years. She was also principal flute with the Omaha Symphony and Opera/Omaha for 11 seasons.

Furuya started her career as a pianist at the age of 12, performing the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major, K.414 with the Osaka Symphoniker Orchestra. This brilliant debut led to prizes at national and international piano competitions including Liszt-Bartok International Competition in 1999 and 2000, and International Minerbio Piano Competition in 2003. As a soloist, she has held many recitals in Budapest, Paris, Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, and St. Paul.

Closing remarks were made by JASM president Sheila LeGeros, who thanked volunteers and everyone who made the evening possible, and the sponsors for their continued support of JASM programs.

Former JASM President Takuzo Ishida concluded  the evening with a Tejime, or Japanese custom in which a special event is ended with rhythmic handclapping to ensure a peaceful close.

This information for this story was previously printed in the JASM Tsushin Monthly, edited by J. Bernard (Ben) van Lierop, executive director, Japan America Society of Minnesota.

The Japan America Society of Minnesota is a member-supported, non-profit association engaged in bringing the people of Japan and the US closer together in mutual understanding, respect and cooperation. Contact JASM at 612-627-9357, [email protected] or

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