Florida Atlantic University alumnus Robert M. (Skipp) Orr recently received the Order of the Rising Sun, an honor granted by the Imperial Palace of Japan.
The award was given by Shinsuke Sugiyama, the Japanese ambassador to the United States, in a ceremony at his residence in Washington, D.C.
The Order of the Rising Sun was established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji of Japan and is granted to those who have made distinguished achievements in international relations involving Japan.
Orr graduated with a B.A. in History cum laude from FAU in 1976.
“We are so proud of Skipp’s recognition with this prestigious award, given that his interest in world history and politics began here in our college’s department of history,” said Michael Horswell, Ph.D., dean of FAU’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. “I appreciate Skipp’s strong commitment to the humanities as a critical component of any university education. We were lucky enough to have him show that commitment as a distinguished visiting professor last year, sharing his knowledge and experience with our students.”
Orr served as U.S. executive director to the Asian Development Bank, with the rank of ambassador from 2010 to 2016, and is currently on the Board of Directors of the Council of American Ambassadors. From 2007-2010, Orr was chairman of the board of the Panasonic Foundation and concurrently vice chair of the National Association of Japan-America Societies, a member of the board of trustees of J.F. Obirin University, and a member of the board of the East-West Center Foundation.
From January 2002 until March 2007, Orr was president of Boeing Japan. He held this position during the development of the most successfully selling airplane in history, the 787 Dreamliner, 35 percent of which is manufactured in Japan. Prior to joining Boeing, Orr was vice president and director of European affairs for Motorola based in Brussels. He also has held various senior level posts with Motorola in Japan, culminating as vice president of government relations. In that capacity, he successfully led the negotiations that opened up the cellular phone market in Japan.
In addition to the corporate world, Orr also has spent many years in academia between 1985 and 1993, as a professor of political science at Temple University in Japan with two years off to run the Kyoto Center for Japanese Studies and the Stanford Center for Technology and Innovation at the Stanford Japan Center in Kyoto. He was also a visiting professor at FAU in 2018. His book “The Emergence of Japan’s Foreign Aid Power,” published by Columbia University Press, won the 1991 Ohira Prize for best book on the Asia Pacific.