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Soka University of America

Soka University of America (SUA) is a university located in Aliso Viejo, California, United States. The university's mission is to "foster of a steady stream of global citizens committed to living a contributive life," with an emphasis on principles of pacifism, human rights, and the creative coexistence of nature and humanity. It has a graduate and an undergraduate program.


1 University Drive
Aliso Viejo


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Mission Statement
The mission of Soka University of America is to foster a steady stream of global citizens committed to living a contributive life.
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College History


SUA is secular and nonsectarian, though established by S?ka Gakkai, a lay Buddhist organization. SUA's history and educational philosophy originate in S?ka Gakkai, particularly in the work of Tsunesabur? Makiguchi, who founded S?ka Gakkai as a small group of educators dedicated to social and educational reform during the years leading up to World War II. Makiguchi was a principal of an elementary school in Japan. He was strongly influenced by John Dewey and American educational progressivism. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi ca. 1930 Between 1930-1934, Makiguchi published his 4-volume work, S?ka Ky?ikugaku Taikei (Value Creating Education System), to argue for his belief that education should proceed through dialog instead of "force-feeding" information to students. This student-centered and humanistic philosophy, he argued, made "the purpose of education" an effort "to lead students to happiness." Education, he asserted, should be directed toward "creating value" for the individual and society. Makiguchi was a pacifist and an ardent believer in religious liberty and freedom of conscience. Jailed by Japanese authorities during the Second World War for ideas and actions inimical to the war-effort, he died in prison in 1944. After the war, as the S?ka Gakkai organization grew, Makiguchi's educational philosophy became the centerpiece of a number of Soka schools in Japan founded by his successors, J?sei Toda (a former elementary school teacher) and Daisaku Ikeda, who is also regarded as the founder of SUA. Ikeda describes the founding of SUA as the fruition of the dreams of Makiguchi and Toda. In 1987, SUA was formed as a not-for-profit organization incorporated in the state of California. It initially was simply a small graduate school located on a 588-acre (2.38 km2) property in Calabasas, California. The property was once the site of a large settlement of Chumash people, a Native American community. When the university tried to expand to accommodate an undergraduate program it met resistance from environmentalists seeking to protect the Chumash ancestral site and the wilderness terrain. SUA decided to relocate. In 1995, the university bought 103 acres (0.42 km2) of rough-graded property in Aliso Viejo in southern Orange County for $25 million. It then spent $225 million to build the first 18 buildings of the new campus, which opened to 120 first year undergraduate students on August 24, 2001. The new campus's principle academic buildings were named after the founder and S?ka Gakkai's third president Daisaku Ikeda and twentieth century peace activists Mahatma Gandhi and Linus Pauling. Founders Hall In 2003, a controversy arose concerning SUA's relationship with S?ka Gakkai International (SGI). The university offers a non-sectarian curriculum, but most of its funding has come from members of S?ka Gakkai International (SGI), which has been described as "overzealous". Two professors charged that the university was not independent from S?ka Gakkai International (SGI) and claimed they experienced religious discrimination and breach of contract. One professor took legal action based on these allegations, but the case was dismissed. Administrators refuted allegations of sectarianism and religious discrimination, stating that the majority of faculty and staff are not members of the S?ka Gakkai International (SGI), that there was no evidence of preferential treatment, and that Soka University of America never has or will teach Buddhist religious practice. In April 2005 the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority closed on the purchase of SUA's campus in Calabasas, which is now public parkland managed jointly by the Mountain Recreation and Conservation Authority, the state parks department, and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. After the sale of the Calabasas campus, the graduate school moved to the Aliso Viejo campus. As of August 2007 the Aliso Viejo campus was home for all of SUA's graduate, undergraduate, and research programs. The Aliso Viejo campus is bordered on three sides by Aliso and Wood Canyons Regional Park encompassing a 4,000-acre (16 km2) county wildlife sanctuary. SUA has at least a $400 million operating endowment and has raised in excess of $100 million for a scholarship endowment. This is a surprisingly large endowment for a university that as of 2014 had yet to graduate its tenth undergraduate class. Between 2005-2007 SUA graduated its first three undergraduate classes with an average graduation rate of 90%. More than a third of the students in each of the first three graduating classes have gone on to graduate school. Forty percent of the 2006 graduating class entered graduate school. Cumulatively, 38% of SUA graduates have gone on to graduate programs, according to the 2008 Peterson's Guide to Four Year Colleges (p. 2228). Students have been admitted into graduate programs at Cambridge University, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Teachers College, Duke University, Harvard University, Hawaii Law, Indiana University, London School of Economics, New York University, George Washington University, Oxford University, Stanford University, St. Johns, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, San Diego, UC Irvine, UCLA, University of Liverpool, University of Maryland School of Law, University of Pittsburgh, University of Southern California, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Vanderbilt University, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, and others. In 2011 Soka University of America celebrated its 10th anniversary in conjunction with the city of Aliso Viejo.

College Specialty


The mission of Soka University of America is to foster a steady stream of global citizens committed to living a contributive life.



103 Acres (0.42�Km2)