Alaska priest appointed as CEO of Japanese American museum

By ENS staff
Posted Jan 26, 2012

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Dr. G.W. (Greg) Kimura of the Diocese of Alaska has been appointed as chief executive officer of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, according to a Jan. 20 press release from the museum.

Kimura has most recently served as transitional minister at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Palmer, Alaska. He also has been CEO and president of the Alaska Humanities Forum since 2006.  He previously was vicar of Holy Spirit Episcopal Church in Eagle River, Alaska, where he twice led the congregation in rebuilding the church after devastating fires, according to a release from the Diocese of Alaska announcing Kimura’s new appointment.

“Dr. Kimura brings a unique set of leadership skills, intellect and experience to the CEO position along with his unbridled passion for the museum’s mission,” Gordon Yamate, chair of the museum’s board of trustees and head of the search committee, said in the release. “I view his appointment as transformational for the museum — he will ably lead and elevate the museum to new levels of programming, experiences and excellence, particularly with our broadening and more diverse audiences.”

During Kimura’s tenure at Alaska Humanities Forum (Alaska’s state humanities council), its revenue doubled and its standing jumped to the third largest in the nation, according to the museum’s release.

Kimura holds a master of divinity degree from Harvard University and a doctorate in philosophy of religion from Cambridge University.

Former Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta, another member of the museum’s Board Search Committee, said in the release, “In many ways, Greg Kimura represents our evolving community. He is a yonsei (fourth generation Japanese American) who grew up outside the larger historic Nikkei communities. Yet he has maintained his cultural ties, has a thorough understanding of our community’s history, and has expressed his desire to pass his heritage on to his own children.”

“I have been profoundly moved at the Japanese American National Museum, as a visitor and member. Coming to the Japanese American National Museum is truly like coming home,” Kimura said in the release. “The museum has an important story to tell about culture, diversity, and what it means to be American. This matters deeply to us all. In an increasingly complex and contentious world, the museum can be not only a place to celebrate these enduring values, but to do the visionary work to guide the future.”

The Japanese American National Museum is dedicated to fostering greater understanding and appreciation for America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by preserving and telling the stories of Americans of Japanese ancestry, according to the museum’s release.