Towson University celebrates Kanji Takeno

The campus will gather to celebrate the legendary photographer's work with a special gallery opening on Nov. 19.

By Kyle Hobstetter on November 17, 2019

Towson University Photographer Kanji Takeno
After serving as Director of Photographic Services at Towson University for 23 years, Kanji Takeno will retire from the position this academic term. 


For the past 23 years, if you had your picture taken on Towson University’s campus, you’ve probably heard this countdown right before the flash of light comes from the top of a camera. 

And if you don’t remember the countdown, then you definitely remember the smile that would come afterwards from the man behind the camera — Towson University’s Director of Photographic Services, Kanji Takeno.

Since starting at TU in 1996, Kanji has taken millions of photos, and has captured so many memories and moments of Towson University’s storied history. And while those 23 years have seen our campus go through an abundance of changes — new campus buildings, five university presidents, and even a name change from Towson State University to Towson University — there has only been one Kanji.   

The Fall 2019 academic term is Kanji’s last as the university’s beloved director of photographic services. During these past 23 years, Kanji’s photographs have been Towson University’s public image, with generations of students being attracted to campus because of his efforts.

To celebrate Kanji’s legacy and contribution to Towson University, there will be a gallery exhibition spanning his tenure that will be on display in the West Village Commons third floor lobby from Nov. 19 through the end of the year. 

There will also be an opening reception on Tuesday, Nov. 19 from 3 – 6 p.m. which will feature guest speakers and light refreshments will be served.

And while these photos will live on through brochures and magazines, what we will truly remember about Kanji is how much he cared for the students and his willingness to go the extra mile for the university. 

“I thought I could share my belief that working hard is important, and education will make it possible for anyone to make their dream come true,” Kanji says.

“Every morning I look forward to coming to work. Every day I look forward to making students smile with my camera. I am a professional photographer and teacher. So, two dreams of mine came true at Towson University.”

That’s why Kanji asked that instead of gifts or presents, those who want to honor him can make a gift to the Student Emergency and Food Insecurity Support Fund. This fund addresses the immediate needs of students experiencing food insecurity or other emergencies preventing them from pursuing their TU education. Contributions can be made at

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland.