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Isao Fujimoto awarded his Ph.D. degree from Cornell University

Isao teaching at the RDLN Institute at the University of California Davis

After fifty years of work and interruptions, Isao Fujimoto has been awarded his Ph.D. degree in Rural Sociology by Cornell University.

His thesis is on "multiethnic efforts to organize immigrant communities in California's Central Valley," according to an article in the Cornell Chronicle, which quotes him as saying "This dissertation is about tapping into the social capital that accumulates and grows among people as they interact with each other."

Alice Paris with Isao during Graduation Ceremony at RDLN National Network Assembly. Concan, TX

He helped start nonprofit groups like the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and served on boards of such groups as Rural America and the Institute for Rural Studies. More recently, he was also a primary resource person for the Central Valley Partnership. And of course he has been central to the RDLN Rural Development Institutes at the University of California at Davis since the first one in 1985.

A building on the UCD campus is named after him.

Isao Fujimoto is second from the left, front row.

An article in the Cornell Online Chronicle quotes Isao as saying, "The dedication, commitment and focus of the people in organizations I've worked have been a source of energy and inspiration that has kept me going. That's what led me to not to give up on completing my Ph.D., even if it took nearly 50 years."

This statement may help community workers who sometimes feel that a degree should not be a priority because it is something you are doing "for yourself." We believe that people who choose to earn their degrees through RDLN are strengthening their ability to serve their community.

To read the Cornell Chronicle's article on Isao, click here