By George Lewis
doctorate recipient Fujio Cho, second from left, is
flanked by former Gov. Martha Layne Collins, left,
UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. and Georgetown College
President William Crouch.
was a remarkable engineering feat. He created a new
corporate culture that went beyond management into
that elusive zone called 'leadership.'"
T. Todd Jr.,
University of Kentucky,
on Fujio Cho's work opening Toyota's plant in Georgetown,
29, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) --
Amid academic pageantry, Fujio Cho, president of Toyota
Motor Corp., received an honorary doctor of engineering
degree today from University of Kentucky President
Lee T. Todd Jr. Regarded as the founding father of
Toyota in Kentucky, Cho now heads Toyota's entire
scope of operations from its world headquarters in
to receiving the honorary degree, Cho is visiting
North America for his induction into the Automotive
Hall of Fame and to participate in the annual North
American Business Results meeting at Toyota Motor
Manufacturing Kentucky in Georgetown.
he is not an engineer by profession, Cho deserved
the honorary engineering degree because of his success
in getting the Toyota plant in Kentucky operational
in 1988 as the company's first independent manufacturing
venture in America.
a remarkable engineering feat," said Todd, himself
an engineer with a doctorate from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. "He created a new corporate
culture that went beyond management into that elusive
zone called 'leadership.'"
president lauded Cho's community involvement. "Mr.
Cho was a quick study," Todd said. "He almost instantly
became involved in the community. He adapted Toyota
to the prevailing culture."
As a result,
according to the citation read at the ceremony, "Toyota
has become a model corporate citizen. The company
has contributed substantial financial resources to
Georgetown, Scott County and the University of Kentucky
and has enriched these institutions in ways that benefit
the common citizen, even though this philanthropy
did not always directly benefit Toyota."
took place in UK's William T. Young Library, to which
Toyota has contributed $3 million. The library is
considered one of the nation's preeminent academic
research libraries and information centers.
the academic honor with characteristic modesty: "This
honor is not for me, but for Toyota, in recognition
of the highly productive association between Toyota
and the University of Kentucky."
years, Toyota and UK have forged a symbiotic relationship.
When Toyota came to Kentucky, it helped to establish
an advanced manufacturing center, not necessarily
to provide services to Toyota or its suppliers; rather,
Cho envisioned the creation of a center at UK that
would provide support to a broad range of small- to
medium-sized Kentucky companies.
Cho agreed to support the creation of a lean manufacturing
program in the UK Center for Robotics and Manufacturing
Systems. Lean manufacturing is a cost-effective method
for maximizing efficiency, performance and profitability.
of dignitaries participated in the academic pageantry:
Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton; former Kentucky Gov. Martha
Layne Collins, who lists among her major accomplishments
helping Toyota establish its Georgetown plant; Georgetown
College President William H. Crouch Jr.; and several
Toyota executives from the company's plant in Georgetown
and Toyota corporate headquarters in Erlanger, Ky.,
and New York City.