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University of Maryland University College Asia kicks off its 50th anniversary celebration Saturday during commencement at the New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo. The ceremony is to begin at 4 p.m.

Guest speakers are Fukushiro Nukaga, the Japan Defense Agency director general, and Ramesh Thakur, the senior vice rector of United Nations University. Nukaga, a senior LDP parliamentarian, is a key player in ongoing efforts to realign U.S. forces in Japan.

Susan Aldridge will make her first overseas visit as UMUC president. She was appointed Feb. 1.

Eighty-eight students are expected to take part in Saturday’s annual commencement. Twenty-eight are associate degree recipients, 59 have completed bachelor’s degrees and one will earn a Master of Science degree.

According to a news release, the first UMUC courses in Asia began in September 1956 in Japan, South Korea and Okinawa.

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