President's Address at Commencement Ceremony for 2016
Let me start my address by offering sincere congratulations to the students who are graduating from Gifu University today, as well as to the faculty members who have guided and instructed the students towards this day.
We are also pleased to welcome many of the students' families and those who have supported them during their life as students. Seeing such truly outstanding scene at the commencement ceremony gives me even more special happy feeling.
Gifu University was founded in 1949 and its history goes back to the "Gifu Prefectural Normal School," established in 1874. Thus, our University has a history of more than 140 years and has produced many outstanding alumni. They lead active roles in various fields including educational institutions, private corporations and governmental organizations, both in Japan and overseas. The faculties and graduate schools of Gifu University are highly rated not only in Japan, but also internationally due, of course, to the activities of our alumni. All of you, who have earned your diplomas today, will also play a part in these activities, but your true evaluation will depend on the roles you play in society in the future. Related to this concern, I would like to emphasize today it is essential all of you to have both global and regional perspectives.
I feel increasingly that no matter where we are or no matter what development stage we reach, it is education that provides the base for supporting a country, particularly a country that has scarce resources such as Japan. Of course, the focus of education in each academic field changes with time and, furthermore, the weight of each field among whole academic area will continue to change in the future. Such move applies not just to education but to a wide range of industries. Thus, it is essential to identify a position on what requires collaboration and on what and how to share our work, not only from the viewpoint of one local area or one country, but also from an international viewpoint. I want all of you to consider what social contribution you can make on a global scale, without limiting yourselves to your own research themes or your future plans.
Next, I would like to mention one of the most serious problems facing Japan, which is the decline in birth rate and increase in aging population, and their relationship with regional communities. This is the problem that developed countries will exactly confront sooner or later, and Japan is taking a leading place and serving as a model for their future. There are various approaches how to evaluate the happiness of living in a local region. For instance, some people in Japan prefer to live alongside their family in the region where they were born and brought up. To meet their needs, it is essential to provide these people with job opportunities, medical services and public welfare. Furthermore, enrichment of education is a prerequisite for encouraging long―standing life in a region. Once again, I would like to repeat the importance of looking at various situations from both international and regional viewpoints.
As you proceed on the next stage of your long lives, I hope you to continue to have the courage to be pioneers in all sorts of areas, exploring them and making progress on your own. Do not be afraid of failure; decide what goals you wish to attain, and go forward. A great business leader in the Showa era said, "Even if you experience a failure, if you ultimately attain your goals, that will not have been a failure." It is, however, important to observe those around you more than sufficiently, and properly think factors through. Using research as an example, a British scientist taught me, "Thinking, thinking, thinking, and one experiment." I want you to have an intrepid fighting spirit, but mature, well-considered ideas that are backed up by it.
Those of you who are graduating today have studied fundamental and applied sciences at the various departments and graduate schools of Gifu University. However, the ways of thinking that you acquired there are not limited to the fields of your respective departments and programs. Rather, they can be applied broadly to the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences as a whole and developed further. Together with the wisdom you have gained at Gifu University, I wish you to maintain lofty goals and a pioneering spirit, and begin to make contributions to society, the international community, and humankind at large. Whether in the near or distant future, I trust that somewhere on this planet, all of you will enjoy a measure of success toward those goals, and I hope to be able to witness them. Again, I extend my sincere congratulations to all of you.
March 25, 2017
President of Gifu University
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