March 14, 2019


Chancellor Edelman and Dr. Jeffery Morrow

MSUB partnership with Japanese University



University Communications and Marketing, 657-2266

MSU BILLINGS NEWS—The Prefectural University of Kumamoto (PUK), Japan and Montana State University Billings renewed their partnership agreement on Feb. 27 on the main campus of MSUB.

Chancellor Dan Edelman and PUK President Hideaki Hando, represented by Dr. Jeffery Morrow, signed the agreement. Dr. Morrow is a professor of Environmental and Symbiotic Sciences in the Department of Environmental Resources. The agreement was formally signed by both parties with gifts of appreciation exchanged.

The agreement defines specific areas of cooperation and collaboration between PUK and MSUB, and builds upon the relationship between the two universities that have existed since 1998. The new agreement opens the opportunity for MSUB students to study full time at PUK during the fall and spring semesters of 2019-2020.

Each year, PUK students spend four weeks at MSUB studying the English language which is organized by the Office of International Studies’ Intensive English Language Program (IELP). The program includes immersive English language study along with many visits to local and regional sites to introduce them to the United States and Montana cultures. MSUB College of Business students also visit PUK and Japan in organized study abroad, faculty-led trips organized by MSUB professors like Scott Harris, Mary McNally, and others.

Currently there are ten students from PUK studying English at MSUB. They are enrolled in MSUB’s English as a second language (ESL) program and are living with local families. They are visiting Billings and local sites of interest including the Mayor’s Office, the Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings West High School, the Burger Dive, Downtown Billings, the Moss Mansion, the Billings Gazette, the Western Heritage Center, and the Yellowstone County Museum. 

Kumamoto (derived from the Japanese word kuma ‘bear’ and moto, ‘book’) and Montana have long had a close relationship. United States Ambassador Mike Mansfield established the relationship in the 1970’s to focus on trade and cultural exchanges. Since that time, there has been a close relationship between many Montana institutions and their counterparts in Kumamoto.  

“This is a fantastic opportunity for PUK students to study abroad and study English in an immersion-style atmosphere and continue their language lessons with their home-stay families,” said Professor Morrow. “PUK would like to offer this opportunity to MSUB students in the future. Billings is a wonderful town, the people are very kind. The amount of snow and cold surprised us all, but provided us with a once in a lifetime experience!”

To learn more about the Prefectural University of Kumamoto, visit

For more information on this agreement and future student opportunities, contact International Studies Director Paul Foster at or (406) 247-5785.