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AU dedicates Inamori Kyocera Museum of Fine Ceramics
5/10/11

As ubiquitous as ceramic materials are in nearly every aspect of modern life, their full potential has not yet been reached, said Dr. Kazuo Inamori, founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera Corp., one of the largest manufacturers of ceramic components in the world at the dedication of the Inamori Kyocera Museum of Fine Ceramics at Alfred University (AU) Tuesday.

“I have been involved in research and business development of fine ceramics for more than half a century,” Inamori told the more than 100 people gathered for the dedication and ribbon-cutting for the new museum, located in Binns-Merrill Hall on the AU campus.

“I started from scratch,” recalled Inamori, who founded the Kyoto Ceramics Corp., forerunner of Kyocera Corp. in 1959 when he was only 27 years old. “I devoted myself to developing new products from fine ceramics.”

Fine ceramics, which are also known as advanced or engineered ceramics, meaning the materials are designed atom-by-atom to produce certain characteristics or properties, are the basis for many of today’s cutting-edge applications in science and industry.

The worldwide fine ceramics market has grown to about three trillion yen, or about $40 billion, a year, Inamori said.

“Even today, new products continue to be developed,” he said. Those will lead to the “next generation” of information, communications, environmental and energy applications for the benefit of humankind.
Prior to beginning his formal remarks for the dedication ceremony, Inamori expressed his “sincerest appreciation” to the people of the United States for their response to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of Japan.

“The United States and its citizens showed much kindness” to the Japanese people. “I want to offer my heartfelt gratitude for the true friendship and warm support during that terrible disaster,” Inamori said.

Alfred University President Charles M. Edmondson noted a $10 million gift from Kyocera Corp. in honor of Inamori led to a $5 million grant, approved by then-Gov. George Pataki, from New York State as a match. The NYS funding was used for the renovations of Binns-Merrill Hall, and the creation of the Museum.

The Museum is the tangible evidence of Inamori’s “scientific vision, spirituality, and inspiration” to students, faculty and staff at Alfred University, Edmondson said.

Alastair Cormack, who was the founding dean of the Inamori School of Engineering and who worked with Kyocera Corp. to create the Museum, called it an “extraordinary facility. It is unique, much more than a collection of artifacts or specimens.” It is, he said, an “educational facility in the truest sense of the word. It charts the historic development” of ceramic components that are “found in virtually every aspect” of our lives today. Visitors to the Museum will be “staggered by their pervasiveness.”
The Museum is a testament to the impact Inamori’s work and Kyocera Corp. have had on our lives today, Cormack noted.

The collection will also serve as a “reminder to us to live up to” Inamori’s leadership in science and business and to be better citizens of the world.