Congratulations to all of you who today become students of Kyushu University. On behalf of the entire Kyushu University faculty and staff, I would also like to congratulate all of your family and friends as well as the teachers who have supported and encouraged you on your path to university.
Today, we welcome a total of 391 new students, including 30 undergraduate students, 333 graduate students, and 28 new international students on short-term study abroad programs (JTW and JLCC). Again, I would like to extend to you a very special welcome.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we regret that we cannot invite family members and others who could have joined you today, but we would like to celebrate today's milestone with those of you watching the live stream.
I would like to ask you to think about why you chose to study at Kyushu University. First, let me share with you our educational and academic philosophy. This year, Kyushu University celebrates its 110th anniversary. Founded in 1911, Kyushu University is recognized for its high academic standards and cutting-edge research, which are built upon wisdom cultivated its over more than one hundred years of history and tradition.
Kyushu University’s mission is that through our persistent efforts, we aim to be a world-leading center of excellence in education and research, marked by vitality and willingness to address the issues that will confront us in the future. Based on this mission, our Education Charter stipulates that Kyushu University aims to contribute to progress in Japan and throughout the world by educating leaders who will assume an active role in the world, especially in Asia. We also aim to educate our students to have a strong sense of humanity, social responsibility, and global citizenship, and an appreciation for creativity and originality in scholarship. In addition, our Research Charter stipulates that we shall carry out our mission of handing down to future generations a basic attitude of respect for humanity’s timeless pursuit of knowledge and the wisdom realized therein. Kyushu University ascribes the highest value to creative and original research and pays the utmost respect to academic freedom and the autonomy of researchers, and we shall endeavor, according to our conscience and good sense, to promote research activities that respect human life and human dignity.
Universities are the repositories of the wisdom that has been passed down throughout human history. It is the mission of those of us gathered here today to learn from—and add to—this wisdom. Starting today, you are a part of that legacy.
Now, let me share some of Kyushu University’s plans for the future.
This year, we had many deep discussions and arrived at the idea of integrative knowledge. This might sound unfamiliar, but the concept is to integrate knowledge from natural sciences with knowledge from humanities and social sciences. I assume all of you major in a study that can be classified in either field, but we assure you that in your classes and research you will have the chance not only to learn the aspects of your study fields but also to explore the perspectives of different study fields. I strongly believe that integrative knowledge will solve the problems we and the world will face, and I will be more than happy to see all of you could be the frontiers as scholars who have the ability to make use of this integrative knowledge.
We have four main campuses where our education and research activities take place. At 2.5km long and 3km wide and covering an area of over 272 hectares, Ito Campus is one of the largest campuses in Japan, welcoming around 20,000 people each day. As a center of integrated science and demonstration experiments, Ito Campus is home to the latest research facilities and equipment as well as the Central Library, which boasts the latest technology and a collection of more than 3.5 million books. The Hospital Campus, equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology and facilities, is one of Asia’s Bio-Medical Science Centers, and Ohashi Campus serves as our Advanced Design Center and Chikushi Campus as our Advanced Science Fusion Center. The unique characteristics and configurations of these campuses combine to promote a variety of initiatives, including the expansion of joint research and the practical application and commercialization of research findings.
With no end in sight for the COVID-19 pandemic, some of you may be feeling anxious about your future. But here at Kyushu University, we have formulated our own measures to enhance our educational environment and strengthen student support. Additionally, we are providing financial aid such as emergency tuition waivers and other benefits for our students as well as economic assistance for international students. As new students, you also have access to our support and consultation services to help orient you to campus life. Faculty and administrative staff are doing their utmost to ensure that education and research activities can continue at the highest standards while ensuring your safety and security.
Dr. Tetsu Nakamura, a graduate and University Professor of Kyushu University, dedicated his life to Afghanistan. Following the collapse of government in Afghanistan this August, I cannot help praying that Dr. Nakamura’s magnificent efforts and warm and strong feelings for Afghan people are secured and maintained. In the last chapter of his book Providence Was with Us, he writes as follows. “Humans are part of nature. Nature is inside of us all. This fact is both an undeniable fate and a blessing that regulates all life on earth. There is no way for us to survive as a species without a reconciliation between nature and humanity and between humans themselves in the endeavors of science, economics, medicine, agriculture, and all other aspects of human behavior. I believe that this is the mark of a decent civilization,” he concludes. Dr. Nakamura’s writing teaches us an important lesson we have to think deeply about.
Today, Kyushu University prides itself on its high standards in academics and research, which I believe will spark curiosity in your studies and inspire you to explore new ideas for the future. It is the perfect place for you to enjoy and dedicate yourself to education and research.
In closing, I would like to again extend to you my warmest welcome. We are now fellow compatriots exploring the world of knowledge. Your voyage of your studies with your diligence will lead you to a bright future, and we will always be here to guide and support your journey. I wish you all good luck.
President, Kyushu University
October 1, 2021