Clayton Yeutter receives honor from Japan

CBY with Ambassador Sassae
Cristy Yeutter receives the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun on behalf of her husband, the late Clayton Yeutter. The award is one of the greatest honors that Japan can bestow.

January 8, 2018

Lincoln, Neb. — Renowned trade expert and University of Nebraska–Lincoln alumnus Clayton Yeutter was posthumously awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by Japan in November 2017. The award is presented to individuals who have given exemplary service to Japan and is one of the greatest honors the country can bestow.  

Yeutter, who died in 2017 at age 86, held three cabinet-level posts for two U.S. presidents. He was counselor for domestic policy and secretary of agriculture for President George H.W. Bush and U.S. trade representative for President Ronald Reagan. Most recently, Yeutter was senior adviser for international trade for Hogan Lovells, LLP, in Washington, D.C., one of the nation's oldest and largest law firms.

In 2015, Yeutter made a $2.5 million leadership gift through outright and planned gifts to establish the Clayton Yeutter International Trade Program Fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation, which was the genesis of the creation of the Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance. The Yeutter Institute was approved by the Board of Regents in December 2017. 

Yeutter had a long history of efforts to strengthen the United States’ relationship with Japan. During his time as U.S. trade representative and secretary of agriculture, he led negotiations that opened the Japanese market to U.S. beef, oranges, and semiconductors. Following his time in the government, Yeutter continued to champion the cause of free trade and strong U.S.-Japan relations. 

Japan’s recognition of Yeutter reflects the strength of his commitment to deep and positive engagement in international affairs, a commitment that lives on in the creation of the Yeutter Institute.

“The Yeutter Institute allows the University to honor a great Nebraskan who was a leading architect of our international trading system, and a tireless advocate for U.S. farmers, businesses and investors,” said Darci Vetter, diplomat in residence at the Yeutter Institute. “Through the Institute, we’re able to focus on and demonstrate how global markets and international trade, are critical critical to ensuring our way of life in Nebraska.”

The Yeutter Institute aims to prepare students to understand, participate in, and shape global trade and finance in a world that is increasingly interconnected. It will build on the strengths of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, College of Business and College of Law to offer undergraduate and graduate education, facilitate faculty research, and conduct outreach efforts, all related to international trade and finance. 

To learn more about the Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance, visit

Ron Yoder
Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources