Apr 7, 2023
Entrance Ceremony President's Address for the Class of 2023
Congratulations to you, all the new students enrolled at Osaka Metropolitan University. It is our great pleasure to see all 4,433 of you today, consisting of 2,976 undergraduate and 1,457 graduate students. On behalf of Osaka Metropolitan University, I would like to extend a heartfelt welcome to you all.
I would also like to extend our congratulations to your families who have been looking forward to this day.
Osaka Metropolitan University is a new university that was established just last year. It is a great pleasure that you and your families are able to join us for the entrance ceremony here at Osaka-jo Hall, the same place we held the ceremony for our first students last year.
Living under a pandemic for three years is something that we are all experiencing for the first time. In your case, this coincided with your entrance examinations. To all of you who overcame this challenge, I would like to express my respect and sincere appreciation for your perseverance in the face of adversity. On top of that, it is very important for all of you to respond to the social changes brought about by COVID-19. I hope that you will anticipate similar changes in society as you start this new stage of your life. Also last year, a war broke out between Ukraine and Russia, and in such a manner, the world is changing dramatically. I hope that all of you will not find yourselves at the mercy of these major events, but will act accordingly, keeping the true nature of things in perspective. Unfortunately, wars are still being fought in the world. Please do not take for granted that you are safe and well today. I hope that you will always have a sense of gratitude for the peaceful conditions that you live in as you go about your future university life.
As we continue to grow, it appears that our values will continue to evolve. I hope that everyone who studies at our university can recognize and respect each other’s different values. Our university is one of the largest public comprehensive universities in Japan, established by the merger of Osaka City University and Osaka Prefecture University a year ago. First, I would like to talk about Osaka City University and Osaka Prefecture University, on which our university is based. The two are both distinguished universities with 140 years of history. They were originally founded as the Osaka Commercial Training Institute and the Osaka School of Veterinary Medicine, respectively. The Osaka Commercial Training Institute later became the current Graduate School of Business, and the Institute of Veterinary Medicine later became the current Graduate School of Veterinary Science. As the first president of Osaka Metropolitan University, I would like to preserve Tomoatsu Godai’s spirit of "altruism," he was a founding representative of the Osaka Commercial Training Institute, Hajime Seki’s spirit of "Never becoming a copy of a national university" , the 7th mayor of Osaka, and Bunzo Akama’s spirit of " Creating the best university in Japan" , the first governor of Osaka. Osaka Metropolitan University should inherit and be proud of these three spirits.
Both universities were founded 73 years ago in 1949. Osaka Prefecture University began under the name “Naniwa University” with engineering and agriculture as its main fields of study. It then became “Osaka Prefecture University” through many consolidations and reorganizations. In 2005, Osaka Prefecture University merged with Osaka Women's University and Osaka Prefecture College of Nursing, to form a new Osaka Prefecture University which continues to this day. Osaka Prefecture University has contributed greatly to the development of academic research and higher education in both Osaka and Japan, as a "university that values practical learning," and Osaka Women's University has also done so as a liberal arts institution. Furthermore, the Osaka Prefecture College of Nursing had trained many highly specialized medical professionals. On the other hand, Osaka City University was established from the former Osaka University of Commerce and Osaka City Medical University, which later became the Graduate School of Medicine. The system of Osaka City University has remained intact since its establishment, a multi-disciplinary university, and has maintained strong traditions to this day. The philosophy of Osaka City University, as expressed by its first president, Kyo Tsuneto, remains unchanged: A school culture that emphasizes the organic linkage of theory and practical application, with respect for the freedom of academic inquiry, to contribute to the development of Osaka and Japan. Their philosophy of working "with the city," has contributed to the development of human resources, industrial revitalization, and promotion of public health in Osaka.
I believe that the opening of Osaka Metropolitan University was the culmination of mergers between the public institutions of higher education in Osaka. I do not doubt that the balance of these diverse academic cultures and traditions will continue to be the driving force for the future development of Osaka Metropolitan University, which upholds "Convergence of Knowledge" and "co-creation" through the 11 undergraduate schools and single college. On our campuses, students from Osaka City University, Osaka Prefecture University, and Osaka Metropolitan University can study together. I believe that you will find a wealth of diversity and values in this environment. Thinking about the long history of Osaka Metropolitan University, which started well before it was re-established last year, it will continue to develop in the future, so we only exist in the middle of its history, and all of you will play an important role in defining the new university’s character with your contributions of diversity.
Now, I would like to ask all the new students at our entrance ceremony: what is a university? What makes a university different from other educational institutions? The most important difference is research. Education should be conducted so that it contributes to society. “University” can be described as a place where knowledge is passed on, knowledge is created, and knowledge is put to use. Some may describe it simply as a place to study. Yukichi Fukuzawa preached the equality of all people in his "Practice of Study" saying, “Heaven does not create one man above or below another man.” He went on to say that "differences are created by what we learn and what we do not learn.” He also said, “What we should devote ourselves to is practical learning, which is close to the common daily use of human beings,” and “Cooking rice and lighting a fire for a bath are also studies.” I believe that he was speaking of the importance of people continuing to learn throughout their lives and acquiring the ability to think for themselves and make decisions on their own, during the tumultuous times of the Meiji Restoration. I believe that this is also relevant to the current era of great change, brought about by pandemics and wars. In these times of 100-year lifespans, I hope that everyone will continue to learn, organize the overflow of information in their own way, and continue to think for themselves.
Speaking of "thinking," universities are places where thinking is valued more than at any other educational institution. When thinking, however, it is necessary to acquire the knowledge that forms the basis of that thinking. As the Analects of Confucius state, "Study without reflection is a waste of time; reflection without study is dangerous,” we "learn" to "think" so that we do not fall into dogmatism. At undergraduate and graduate school, "active learning," in which students learn not only what others teach you but also what you willingly learn on your own initiative, is the basic principle. The lectures, exercises, experiments, and hands-on training provided at universities are designed to optimally support your "learning style," giving you the experience to learn and grow on your own. In addition, students are expected to make their own study plans from a wide range of course options. When you go out into the world in the future and face various challenges, there is almost nothing that can be solved by one academic field alone. Our university offers a wide variety of programs, such as minor studies and study abroad programs, so we encourage you to create your own unique curriculum and enrich your "learning”. Fulfilling your studies will lead you to "think correctly". We hope that you will experience the joy of thinking at our university.
With regards to active learning, students are required to take a compulsory first year seminar during the very first semester of undergraduate study. In this active learning course, students select a topic of interest from a wide variety of themes taught by faculty members from all academic areas. The classes are conducted by a small and diverse group of students and faculty members from across the university. Through group discussions and other activities, students will acquire skills and attitudes to learn spontaneously and actively. Through this seminar, we believe that you will come to realize the importance of Comprehensive Knowledge while experiencing the value of diversity our university provides. Cultural diversity is a source of exchange, innovation, and creativity that brings justice, freedom, and peace to humankind. Osaka Metropolitan University appreciates diversity in culture, expertise, and values, as well as diversity in students, faculty, staff, and our international communities which carry these values. We hope that you will deepen your understanding as students and strive to face new challenges, while respecting each other's values.
In addition to a diverse educational curriculum, our university is home to a wide range of world-class laboratories and research facilities, such as the Research Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, the Research and Development Center for Plant Factory, and the Research Institute for All-Solid-State Battery, and about 50 unique interdisciplinary research centers named Collaboration Research Center. Varied academic research, be it basic or applied, is being conducted by faculty and students working together, and disseminated around the world, which has proven our credibility to the global academic community and industry. The faculty, staff, and existing students, including myself, are enthusiastically looking forward to conducting research with you.
Apart from intellectual academic activities, our university also actively organizes festivals, clubs and volunteer activities, and exchange programs among the student community, where you can develop a wide range of abilities such as planning, creativity, and communication skills. At our university, you can improve yourself on your own journey. I hope that you will discover your own purpose in this limited and unique time at university when you can enjoy your freedom. I sincerely hope that your new university and graduate school life will be a fulfilling one. There are many wonderful opportunities that await you during your time here. I hope that in 10 or 20 years, or even decades from then, you will be glad that you studied at Osaka Metropolitan University.
With these words, I would like to conclude my address by wishing you all the very best in your future endeavors. And, once again, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to all of you today.
April 5, 2023
President, Osaka Metropolitan University