Mar 31, 2023
Address at Degree Conferment Ceremony 2022 (Spring)
Congratulations on your graduation and successful completion of your degree program.
I’m pleased that we are able to hold this AY2022 spring degree conferment ceremony, a joint event of Osaka City University, Osaka Prefecture University, and Osaka Metropolitan University. On behalf of the three universities, I would like to express my sincere congratulations. I also would like to deliver my cordial congratulations to your families and other important people who have been looking forward to celebrating this special day and provided a wide variety of support for you.
I believe that to reach this day, each of you has struggled in one way or another to attain your degree. Despite the considerable changes in your daily life due to the three-year pandemic, you have continued unwavering efforts and hard work toward your own target, until finally accomplishing the goal of earning your degree. Let me express my deep respect to all of you.
Today, we awarded degrees to a total of 2,103 students of Osaka Prefecture University: bachelor’s degrees to 1,351 students who are graduating from their colleges; master’s degrees to 710 students who have completed their master’s programs; and doctoral degrees to 42 students who have completed their doctoral programs. For Osaka City University, we granted degrees to a total of 2,057 students: bachelor’s degrees to 1,451 students who are graduating from their faculties; master’s degrees to 522 students who have completed their master’s programs; doctoral degrees to 77 students who have completed their doctoral programs; and juris doctor degrees to seven students who have completed their professional degree programs. For Osaka Metropolitan University, we awarded master’s degrees to three students who have completed their master’s programs and dissertation-based doctoral degrees to nine successful applicants.
Now that you have obtained your degree, each of you will embark on your own life path from now on. I hope that many things you have learned at Osaka Prefecture University or Osaka City University will help you lead a fulfilling life. I believe that you have learned the basics of lifelong self-study at Osaka City University or Osaka Prefecture University. I would like you to remain enthusiastic about absorbing every new thing and excited about new discoveries. I also hope that you will maintain your intellectual curiosity and aspiration to improve yourself so that you can always make progress in your life. Early last year saw the beginning of a war in Ukraine, drastically changing the world and affecting national movements in Japan. Although your milestone year coincides with this, I hope that you will not be buffeted by these large changes but act with a down-to-earth approach while identifying the essence of everything.
Last April, Osaka City University and Osaka Prefecture University merged into the new institute Osaka Metropolitan University. Under the banners of “Convergence of Knowledge” and “co-creation,” the new university, comprising 11 undergraduate schools and a college, strives to be open to society and attract many people regardless of the generation, which is an ideal vision as a university in this era of a 100-year life. Aiming to serve as a knowledge hub drawing talents from the industry-government-academia-private sectors toward enhancing people’s well-being, we hope that you will study here again in 10 years, 20 years, or 40 years, or that you will share your experience with other people so that they can learn from it. In either case, we would like you to see Osaka Metropolitan University, as an evolutionary form of your alma maters, once again an institute to support your self-improvement.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to ask you to make me three promises before you soar into a new world: have a dream, be open to others, and treasure every encounter you have with people.
Let me start with the first promise, or “dream.” “Those without dreams have no ideals. Those without ideals have no beliefs. Those without beliefs have no plans. Those without plans have no implementation. Those without implementation have no results. Those without results have no happiness. Accordingly, those seeking happiness must not be free of dreams,” this is the philosophy of the eminent figure Eiichi Shibusawa. “If you can dream it, you can do it,” this phrase is from Walt Disney, the founder of Disney. Before I began my university presidency, I had long worked as a teaching staff member at the Graduate School of Engineering. More than 20 years ago, I contributed an essay, titled “Dreams,” to an academic society’s bulletin. In the essay, I mentioned my research, stating that I wanted to realize an all-solid battery as a new form of batteries. In those days, such a battery was literally just a dream. Since then, I have continued my research steadily, together with members in my lab. Today, practical use of an all-solid battery as an in-vehicle power source is really close at hand. At every milestone event, I always told the students in my lab to consider how they would like to live 20 years or 30 years later. Some say that it is more fun to try to realize your dreams than to pursue success. According to Ichiro Suzuki, “Fulfilling a dream is not instant magic. The sum of small efforts will lead you to put out incredible power someday.” You have reached this day of celebration for your graduation or program completion, and I hope that you will continue to head toward your own dream.
Second, I ask you to be open to others. As I mentioned earlier, I had long worked on research with students in my lab. I often had the opportunity to point things out that caught my attention and share a different way of thinking when students gave presentations in the lab to report the progress of their research or rehearsed for presentations at an academic conference. Different students reacted differently to my comments: some listened to me patiently, while others always reacted against me on the spot. So, from now on, why not just be open to others and listen to them, whatever the case may be? When someone talks to you, you may sometimes feel criticized, but the moment you interrupt and react against the person, your thought process comes to a halt. In my experience as a teaching staff member, open-minded students showed remarkable progress and growth. Don’t rely only on yourself, instead accept help from many other people to discover your weak points and overcome them in order to improve yourself.
“If you meet a cook, ask questions about cooking. If you meet a chauffer, ask questions about cars. If you meet a Buddhist monk, ask questions about the afterlife. Whatever the topic may be, don't pretend to know about it. Just be open to others and listen to them. That will broaden your world much more than tooting your own horn. Besides all that, you can enjoy the company of the person.” This statement was made by Takeshi Kitano. Meanwhile, the God of Management, Konosuke Matsushita, who founded the company presently called Panasonic, said: “Listen to others attentively. This is the primary requisite for managers. Feeling that all those with an education were superior to me, I listened to them with an open mind, regardless of the topic, and tried to absorb them.” I believe that an openness to other people’s opinions will help you grow.
Finally, I would like to focus on treasuring every encounter you have with other people. I always mention this at every degree conferment ceremony. No matter how great you may be, you cannot live alone, and you can live with various kinds of help from other people.
Treasure every encounter as a once-in-lifetime experience. You have met so many people so far, and your interactions with them have helped you grow to this day. All these encounters you have had can be described as miracles. If you appreciate and treasure the precious encounters you have had, you will surely be able to establish new relations. During my 40 years of teaching, I have always felt the importance of relations in both my career and my daily life. It is said that many relations formed in school days will last through a lifetime. Actually, I myself have received support from many of those that I met in my school days. Please continue to cherish the relations you have had with the many people you have met at this university—members of the faculty and staff, seniors, juniors and classmates—in appreciation of your encounters with them, to further enrich your life.
Last but not least, support from the people around you has made it possible for you to obtain a degree certificate today, although of course, you would not have achieved this without your own efforts. I strongly recommend that on this auspicious day, you articulate your gratitude to such people. Regrettably, the disaster of war still continues on the Earth. I ask you never to take it for granted to celebrate this special day, but to feel everlasting gratitude for peace.
To conclude my congratulatory address, I wish you all great success in the future and hope that today will be the beginning of a new chapter in your happy, wonderful life.
March 24, 2023
President, Osaka Metropolitan University