Degree Conferment Ceremony 2011.3.23
I would first like to extend my deepest condolence and heartfelt sympathy to all those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, which occurred in the afternoon on March 11th. I would also like to express my gratitude and respect for everybody who is supporting restoration in the disaster-struck areas.
As the head of Hiroshima University, let me take the opportunity of this year’s degree conferment ceremony to speak a few words of encouragement to all of the graduates and to express my deepest gratitude to parents and relatives for your continual support of our university. I would also like to thank all of you for taking the time to be here with us at the degree conferment ceremony today.
Hiroshima University was first established On May 31, 1949, with the founding principle to become “a single unified university with the pursuit of peace.” While fulfilling our mission as a national university, we have developed into one of the country’s leading comprehensive universities.
Now, everybody look back on some of the major events which were completed during your time at Hiroshima University; there was the establishment of iPS cells, the return of “Hayabusa” and the amazing progress of academic research leading to the discover of new living organism, humanity suffering from environmental destruction and pollution, food or energy shortage, the surge of democracy drive in the Middle East and North Africa, the spread of food-and-mouth disease and bird influenza and a spate of man-made and natural calamities. Above all, we were struck by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th, a disaster unparalleled in the history of our country.
Academic research has progressed enormously during the latter half of the 20th century into the 21st century, but there are also continually new issues mankind must solve. World-wide exchange will continuously increase. As global society makes further progress, Hiroshima University must serve as Japan’s “Core University”, lead the 21st century’s society as a “Center of Knowledge” and foster manpower which is active in the international community and able to contribute to the construction of a sustainable future society.
While you spent your campus life at Hiroshima University in an environment like this, and enjoying many new experiences, all of you were able to leave your individual footprints in the history of this university. These results will forever live on in our records.
We have always encouraged attempting bold challenges during your student life. I think, however, that the expected outcome is not always acquired, often it’s quite the opposite, and many have experienced frustration. I believe that you will all continue to grow from the hardships and mistakes that you will experience from here on out. I wish that you will seek for high ideals and have the courage to not be afraid of failure.
In January of this year, news reports said that an egg-laying site for eels was found in the South Pacific Ocean. At present, eels are grown commercially from larval fish, but larval fish are dwindling and this natural resource in danger of being depleted. Aqua farming from eggs would enable an increase in the production of eels tremendously. In 1973 a Japanese researcher team began investigations of spawning grounds, and in January of this year for the first time in the world, they succeeded in harvesting eel eggs from west of the Western Mariana Islands. For 38 years, they followed the larval fish as they gradually travelled south. First, in 1991, the researchers found larval fish 10mm in size, and it took them another 20 years to detect the eggs. You may think that this is of no significance compared with other important affairs in the world, but I was deeply impressed by this achievement. I believe that this is an excellent result from spending a long time concentrating on a single purpose. To acquire academic results and achievements contributing to the development of humanity, you need a determined mind. This example shows the importance of courage and indefatigable energy ready to face difficulties.
Progress of academic research and environmental change are accelerating. The globalization of humanity and international exchange is developing fast, and we are advancing our activities to a global scale. I want you to face the challenge of these social and environmental changes – without being influenced by shortsighted and misguided opinions –, to keep the ideal of contributing to humanity, to have your sights set on international society and to go one big step further.
I wish for each of you who that are graduating from our university today to have your own set of values, a broad view on life, a future goal and a determined mind to go ahead and accomplish your aim. I hope that you grow into mature personalities strong enough to overcome all the future hurdles in your lives.
As you embark on a new chapter of your lives, I pray that the roads ahead lead to a brighter future, filled with promise and hope. Congratulations.
March 23, 2011
President, Hiroshima University