ALISO VIEJO — Soka University of America’s executive vice president and chief operating officer was chosen to replace the founding president, who is retiring after 27 years of leading the school.

Daniel Habuki and Edward Feasel

Edward Feasel will succeed Daniel Habuki, who has served as the university’s president since May 1993.

Feasel, who has been with SUA since 1998, was instrumental during the initial phases of development of the university, serving as one of the founding faculty of the undergraduate program. He was named dean of students in 2001, dean of faculty in 2005, and vice president for academic affairs in 2015.

Feasel has also continued to maintain his responsibilities as an economics professor and has published two books in recent years, “Exports, Trade Policy, and Economic Growth in Eras of Globalization” in 2018 and “Japan’s Aid: Lessons for Economic Growth, Development and Political Economy” in 2014.

Feasel received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Yale University and earned his doctorate in the field from UC Berkeley. His research interests are in economic outcomes and societal values, Orange County’s economy, economic growth, and effects of monetary and fiscal policy.

“I am very honored to become president of SUA and I want to thank the Board of Trustees for showing their trust in me through their selection,” Feasel said in a statement. “I am especially grateful to our university founder, Daisaku Ikeda, for establishing SUA as a citadel of education for global citizenship. It was my distinct pleasure to serve in Danny Habuki’s administration for over 20 years and I thank and congratulate him on all of his accomplishments during his incredible tenure as SUA president.”

The Board of Trustees named Habuki as president emeritus of SUA in appreciation for his years of service to the private, four-year liberal arts college and graduate school.

The SUA Board of Trustees selected Habuki as the university’s first president because his international experience, administrative skills, and dedication to teaching exemplified the mission of Soka University of America. As an associate professor with the Institute for Comparative Studies of Cultures at Soka University of Japan, Habuki introduced American-style instruction inside and outside of the classroom, setting a standard that has been followed throughout the university system.

Habuki received his Ph.D. in agricultural economics in 1984 from Washington State University, where he received a prestigious grant from the Hops Administrative Committee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He received his M.A. in economics from the University of Southern California in 1980 and his B.A. in economics from Soka University of Japan in 1975.

Habuki oversaw the opening of the Aliso Viejo campus in 2001 and construction of a performing arts center, academic building, additional residence halls and the recent completion of a state-of-the-art life sciences building.

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