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Hillyer Gift Announced Following Book Launch
Hillyer Alumnus Darius Mehri '86 gave a lecture Tuesday on his new book "Notes From Toyota-Land: An American Engineer in Japan."
Currently, the top academic freshman at Hillyer College is awarded a scholarship toward his or her sophomore year from the Mehri Scholar fund, which was established in 1985. Dr. Mehri’s latest gift will make it possible for scholarships to be awarded to the top two freshmen each year.
Mehri’s son, Darius Mehri, who graduated from Hillyer in 1986, delivered a lecture in Wilde Auditorium Tuesday and officially launched his new book, Notes from Toyota-Land: An American Engineer in Japan. Mehri also was presented with an Outstanding Young Alumnus Award from Hillyer College.
Darius Mehri, who finished at the top of his class at Hillyer and went on to earn degrees from the University of Rochester, City College of New York, and the University of Wisconsin, traveled to Japan in 1996 to work as a computer simulation engineer within the Toyota production group.
Mehri's book is based on a journal that he kept during his three years at an upper level Toyota group company, providing a unique insider’s perspective on daily work life in Japan. The book charts his transformation from wide-eyed engineer, eager to be part of the “Japanese Miracle,” to a social critic, troubled by Japanese corporate practices. He describes a surprisingly unhealthy work environment, a high rate of injuries due to inadequate training, fast line speeds, crowded factories, racism, and lack of team support.
In his lecture, Mehri read excerpts from his book, offered stories about his experiences in Japan, and answered questions from the audience. He told the crowd that the book was made possible by the journal-writing skills he learned at Hillyer. “As a single guy in a small town, I just started writing every night. I was very frustrated with the work environment,” he said.
At the dinner following the lecture, Mehri noted that when he came to the University 22 years ago, he was a classic underachiever. “Fortunately, I came to a wonderful place that turns people with potential into educated adults.”