On Wednesday April 6, Akita University held its entrance ceremony at the Akita Prefectural Hall. This year Akita University admitted 1275 new students, including graduate school students. At the ceremony President Fumio Yamamoto gave a speech which was followed by a speech by freshman Kana Yamada from department of Medicine. She said, "I will fulfill my obligation to enrich my education and learn at a high academic level as one of Akita University’s students." One of the upperclassmen also gave a welcome speech and said, "I would like you to cultivate connections with others, keep an open mind, and realize your potential." Outside the hall after the ceremony, many Akita University students gathered to invite the freshmen to join their club activities.
The President's Speech
I welcome all 1275 of you from the bottom of my heart as a representative of Akita University. Congratulations on your admission to Akita University. You will have the most lively time of your life on campus, and you will also learn a lot of invaluable things.
I would like to extend my deep appreciation to all who attended the ceremony such as parents, university staff, and other guests. I implore you to support these 1275 new university students, more so now than ever before.
To the freshmen, all of you gathered here today passed the university examination. You already proved that you can solve the kinds of problems that have answers and can be tested in an examination. It might have been "knowledge" which was necessary for you to succeed until today. But in this world, there are situations where you need to solve questions and problems that have no answer, or times when you will need to think about things which have never been done before. Sometimes there is no single answer. Sometimes the answer is different for different people. University is not just a place to gain your knowledge. It is a place where you can search for truth. This is true not only for students, but teachers as well. There is a limit to the time you have in university. How you choose to learn in this limited time is all in your hands.
I left my position as a professor of the Graduate School of Medicine in the spring of 2014. At the last lecture I left some words that also are a challenge to myself. I said, "Second-rate changes from glad to sad depending on matches against others. But first-rate is just thinking about the match with oneself." I wanted to tell you all these words the first time I saw you because you all have potential to make a bright future.
As you all know, due to organizational reform in 2014, Akita University adopted a four undergraduate system dividing the school between International Resource Sciences, Education and Culture, Medicine, and Engineering Science. Also from this spring, the graduate school a similar four graduate system dividing the program between International Resource Sciences, Education and Culture, Medicine, and Engineering Science to further strengthen comprehensive education and research. We would like to produce great graduates who conduct outstanding researches which gives back to society. Let’s use the full force of our determination to accomplish this mission. Also let's stretch our curiosities to the world. Japan needs to raise people up who can communicate with the world with expert knowledge using language to continue to demonstrate our presence in the international community. By saying “common language” I don’t merely mean that I want us to speak the same language. It means raising up people who, despite growing up with different cultural identification, different thoughts, and different feelings, strive to understand and accept each other. That is the common language that should be nourished.
Today, we have 47 international students with us. Welcome to Japan, and to Akita. I am so glad that you choose this place, Akita, as your learning field. Akita has four beautiful seasons and many intangible cultural heritages. I hope Akita will be your second home.
My dear international students, welcome to Akita. We are quite happy to have 47 of you, from all over the world. We will do the best we can to help your stay in Akita to be wonderful.
Now talking to you, I remember my old memory in 1981. I went to St. Thomas Hospital in London to study cardiovascular surgery.
To tell you the truth, I could not speak English well. However, what helped me most to get closer to the people there was my strong desire to tell who I am and what I think, and also to know who they are and what they think.
The year in London also gave me an opportunity to meet my life-long teacher. I believe experiencing and facing different cultures will contribute to your future.
Now, Akita University has 220 exchange students from a total of 30 countries. You can enjoy the beautiful nature in Akita, and I would like you to make a lot of friends with different backgrounds. Also, I hope you can show how wonderful studying abroad is to the Japanese students in Akita University.Thank you.
Akita University and all the university staff will recommitment to keeping "students first" for the expansion of education and research. We aim contribute to the region by producing students who are responsible for the next generation, and to be a world leading university. Unfortunately, Akita University has lost the trust of society recently. This is a fact which we accept with sincerity, and we promise you to change so that the university will be a force for progress. My hope is that all of you will have a fulfilling student life and experience significant personal growth. Thank you.
April 6, 2016
Akita University President