Congratulatory Message from the President Yamaguchi University Entrance Ceremony, 2019 Academic Year

April 3, 2019

 

Congratulatory Message from the President
Yamaguchi University Entrance Ceremony, 2019 Academic Year
Masaaki Oka

 

 It is spring 2019—the beginning of a new era. Heisei will soon become Reiwa. On this glorious spring day with cherry blossoms in full bloom, a total of 2,531 new students—2,008 undergraduates and 523 graduate students—have joined Yamaguchi University from all over Japan and the world. I would like to extend a warm welcome to you on behalf of Yamaguchi University. I, myself, am a graduate of Yamaguchi University, and I would like to express my sincere congratulations to you as a fellow alumnus. The parents and guardians here today must also be proud to see their children off on the next chapter of their lives. They will become more independent and fly away from their nests. I ask that you watch over them, but leave them room to grow.

 

 Yamaguchi University traces its origin back to Yamaguchi Kodo, a private school founded in 1815 by Ueda Hoyo, a feudal clansman of Choshu Province. We are the third oldest university in Japan, and celebrated the 200th anniversary of our founding in 2015. Bear this history in mind, and live your student life with pride. Yamaguchi Prefecture is where the Meiji Restoration started. A monument of the “Choshu Five”—a group of five local samurai intellectuals who played a vital role in Japan’s modernization—stands on the side of Yoshida Campus’s main gate, representing the local culture of striving for a better world.

 

 Yamaguchi University is the only multi-faculty university in Yamaguchi Prefecture, and its nine faculties and eight graduate schools enroll over 10,000 students. The university has three campuses: Yoshida Campus in Yamaguchi City and the Tokiwa and Kogushi Campuses in Ube City. Their combined total area is more than twice the size of Disneyland. With our campuses’ lush greenery, carefree atmosphere, and well-equipped research facilities, our university is the ideal educational environment. This academic year, the Joint Faculty of Veterinary Medicine will undergo EAEVE certification, and the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science will open a new hospital wing with the latest equipment available in Japan. Our university continues to evolve every year.

 

 Currently, people and the economy alike move on a global scale. This is the age of globalization. Innovations such as artificial intelligence and IoT have kick-started the fourth industrial revolution, and it is expected that 50% of existing jobs will be replaced by AI in the near future. In such times of uncertainty, what skills are needed? What types of human resources does society need?

 

 To become the human resources that society needs, undergraduate students are required not only to engage in general studies beginning in their first year and, moving forward, more specialized studies, but also to gain experiences by actively taking on challenges. Graduate students must change their approach to their studies. You are no longer merely students—you are scholars. As people grow, their individual characteristics become more pronounced. It is essential to develop an open mind that embraces diversity.

 

 Yamaguchi University’s motto is, “Discover it. Nourish it. Realize it: A Place of Wisdom.” Live by this motto, and you will be able to acquire the skills you need. First, ask yourself what you want to learn and achieve. Next, work towards those goals in your own way. Then, before you graduate, make this experience your own. Approaching your student life in this way will certainly make it more fulfilling, and lead you to personal growth. It is the actions that you take of your own initiative that will improve your character.

 

 At Yamaguchi University, it is mandatory for freshmen to take courses on intellectual property and mathematics and information science. We are the only university with such requirements. We have them because knowledge in these areas is, and will continue to be, extremely important in society. You will be able to acquire strengths in your freshman year that students from other universities do not possess. In addition, in this globalized world, the four core English skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing are indispensable. We allocate foreign academic staff and other resources to provide English education starting from freshman year. We expect our students to put forth the utmost effort to learn English. Now that you have successfully entered university and been released from the hard work of entrance exams, you must feel relieved. However, your university life has already begun. Four years may seem long, but it is actually quite short. As a university student, you are expected to be self-aware in everything you do.

 All undergraduates will study on the Yoshida Campus in their freshman year. This is a great opportunity to make friends in other faculties, so go out there and meet new people. During your time in the general education program, it is important to gain a wide range of knowledge, and, if there are any areas related to your major that you have difficulty in, to overcome those difficulties.

 There are many student organizations at Yamaguchi University. Extracurricular activities will help you gain experiences that you cannot get from lectures and practicals. Through clubs and sports, you can learn the importance of tolerance and patience, develop relationships across generations, deepen your friendships, and become stronger both physically and mentally. This will help you acquire the foundation you need to be a member of society.

 

 As for graduates, we expect you to hone your uniquely human abilities by conducting cutting-edge research to tackle unsolved challenges and providing solutions. Furthermore, the Graduate School of Sciences and Technology for Innovation provides education on startup entrepreneurship as part of our innovation education. I hope to see our students become renowned entrepreneurs in Japan.

 

 Yamaguchi University will support you on your quests to deepen your knowledge, so that you may give your studies undivided attention. In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of our founding, we established the Yamaguchi University Fund. Through the fund, we offer scholarships to aid in students’ enrollment in the university and provide support for our students studying abroad and international students studying at Yamaguchi University. The year before last, 571 Yamaguchi University students studied abroad, and 740 international students came to study with us. This shows that our university is becoming more and more international. Studying overseas will become a wonderful opportunity to broaden your perspective and make new discoveries. I recommend that you study abroad, even if it’s only for a short period of time, following the rules. In addition, as described in the materials you have received here today, we provide one-coin breakfasts for freshmen during the month of May, and free admission to the Yamaguchi Prefectural Art Museum for all students. Eating breakfast is key to maintaining good health, and appreciating fine art will refine your tastes. Make the most of these services.

 

 One thing that makes Yamaguchi Prefecture unique is that it is home to one of the largest industrial areas in Japan, centered around the Setonaikai Sea. The area’s mild climate and few natural disasters have attracted many great companies. At our university, we provide an amazing program—Yamaguchi Future Leaders, or YFL. Students who enroll in the program in their freshman year will have an advantage in finding a job at local businesses. For those who are interested in the vitalization of the local area, I strongly recommend that you join this program. The citizens of Yamaguchi Prefecture expect you to play a part in creating a better future for the prefecture.

 

 University is not a place to idle about without purpose. The key to bringing out the full potential of your skills is ambition. Imagine your future self in four to six years, and work hard toward that vision and beyond. Read. Write. Discuss. Meet with international students. Get engaged in society. Learn to do things the analog way, not just the digital way. Many events are held in Yamaguchi City and Yamaguchi Prefecture, and people in the local communities are very much looking forward to your participation and cooperation.

 

 Lastly, I would like to conclude my welcome and congratulations message with a word of encouragement, as the President and an alumnus of the university: Shine here! You will shine! I sincerely look forward to seeing your growth and success in this time of great change.