Keynote Speaker and
Honorary Degree Recipients

Keynote Speaker & Honorary Degree Recipient

Koko Tanimoto Kondo '66

Koko Tanimoto Kondo ’66 is one of the youngest Hiroshima A-bomb survivors and an internationally recognized peace advocate.  Her life message of peace and reconciliation provides a powerful and inspiring message about bringing healing to one’s self and to the world.

She was born Koko Tanimoto in November 1944. At the moment the bomb was dropped at 8:16 a.m. on August 6, 1945, she was an eight-month-old infant at home less than one mile away from the hypocenter of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, the first of two atomic bombs used during World War II.  While she was too young to remember the bombing, she grew up amid the destruction of her town and saw the long-lasting effects that radiation poisoning had on its citizens.

As a child, Kondo was heavily influenced by her father, the Rev. Kiyoshi Tanimoto. He was instrumental in helping rebuild the city and promoting a message of peace. He created the Hiroshima Maiden Project, which assisted young girls who had become disfigured from the attack.  He worked with the Moral Adoption Project, which raised funds in the United States to build orphanages in Hiroshima for war orphans.

On May 11, 1955, Kondo and her father appeared on the popular television program “This is Your Life,” where they met Capt. Robert A. Lewis, the co-pilot of Enola Gay, the B-29 aircraft that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.  Kondo attributes this meeting with a life-changing, transformative learning experience. From that experience she learned to embrace the enormous contradictions and paradoxes of her hibakusha experiences which roughly translates to “explosion-affected people,” and now exudes an affirmative energy and compassion that inspires young and old alike.

When she was residing in the United States, she lived with Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck, who greatly influenced her personal work with Japanese orphans.

Kondo received her Associate in Arts degree from Centenary College in 1966, and her Bachelor of Arts degree from American University in 1969. Since then, she has devoted her life to sharing the stories of those who were affected by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, people known as hibakusha.  She has traveled the world, including visiting Russia and Iraq, discussing her experiences growing up in Hiroshima. Her audiences are touched and empowered by Kondo’s humility and courage in making meaning of the multi-faceted tragedies and triumphs in her life experience. During an annual study tour on the anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, she shares her stories and inspires students with her energy and compassion. 

Honorary Degree Recipients

Kenneth Lee Hahn

Kenneth Lee Hahn has been a Trustee of Centenary College since 2000.  He serves as the First Vice Chair of the Board, and Chair of the Enrollment, Marketing and Technology Committee; and is a member of the Personnel and the Endowment Campaign Committees.

Hahn’s career included American Airlines where he worked in Internal Audits and Security; and Johnson & Johnson in the Corporate Information Division (retired). 

A resident of Tewksbury Township, he was elected to the Township Committee for four consecutive three-year terms and also served as Mayor.  Committee assignments included the Planning Board, Affordable Housing, and Open Space Acquisition.

He is a graduate of Monmouth College (now University) and American University.  

Hahn is a member of the Fairmount Presbyterian Church where he sings in the choir and serves on the Property Management Committee.  His interests include travel, horticulture (he is a member of the American Boxwood Society), and he enjoys reading and music.  He is married to Millie Hahn who holds a Master of Arts degree in Special Education from Centenary College.  She is a member of Centenary’s President’s Circle and serves on the Endowment Campaign Committee.  Lee and Millie have two adult children and six grandchildren.

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