First and foremost, allow me to extend my heartfelt congratulations to each one of you upon your completion of academic programs and the conferral of your degrees. Whether you are receiving a Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctoral degree, this momentous occasion marks a significant milestone in your educational journey.
You have faced the unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, all while steadfastly pursuing your studies at Yamagata University. For those accustomed to traditional, in-person instruction throughout your formative educational years, the abrupt transition to virtual learning upon entering higher education undoubtedly presented formidable obstacles. The adaptation to this new pedagogical format and the subsequent acquisition of knowledge under such constraints is commendable. Moreover, the limitations imposed on extracurricular activities, crucial for social development and camaraderie, as well as the conversion of hands-on laboratory work and practical exercises to digital platforms, likely cast a pall of uncertainty over your university experience. Surmounting these obstacles has necessitated extraordinary efforts, a testament to which is the diploma you hold today. This document, conferred upon you by the institution, not only signifies your relentless dedication but also verifies the attainment of specialized knowledge, skills, and scholarly achievements in your respective fields. I urge you to carry this accomplishment with pride as you boldly take the next steps in your professional and academic careers.
As you stand on the precipice of diverse and individual life journeys, some of you will join the workforce while others may further specialize through graduate education. As you traverse the intricate landscape of future opportunities and challenges, there will inevitably be moments of adversity that may provoke doubt, discouragement, or even the desire to retreat. In such times, I encourage you to draw strength from your ability to surmount the considerable obstacle that was the COVID-19 pandemic. The critical thinking skills, resilience, and problem-solving capabilities honed during these tumultuous times have endowed you with the fortitude required to transcend even the most daunting of life’s challenges.
Nevertheless, there may come times when challenges appear overwhelming and insurmountable. Should you find yourselves in such straits, remember that you need not navigate them alone. I implore you to consider returning to the hallowed halls of Yamagata University. Your academic advisors and I stand ready to collaborate with you, offering our insight and guidance to help you discern a viable pathway forward. Rest assured that this institution remains perpetually committed to your success and well-being.
As we approach the conclusion of today's ceremony, I wish to impart a final request unto you, our esteemed graduates. I urge you to forever bear in mind that the degrees you now hold are not solely the result of individual endeavor. Your academic milestones have been facilitated not only by your unwavering commitment but also by the enduring support of friends, family, and mentors. Life is an intricate tapestry of relationships; let a sense of gratitude for these myriad connections be a constant companion on your journey henceforth.
Moreover, the seismic shifts in the global economy, catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic, underscore the necessity of communal support. Your ability to maintain a stable academic life during these turbulent times is, in part, a testament to the benevolence of our alumni network and the wider community. Even as our nation confronts economic adversity, the financial aid and generous contributions we have received reveal the substantial expectations vested in you, our student body. This realization continually impresses upon me the magnitude of the collective hopes placed in your capabilities and future contributions.
As we stand at the crossroads of an era defined by its very unpredictability, a myriad of global challenges looms ever larger on the horizon. It is my heartfelt aspiration that each one of you, armed with the comprehensive knowledge and skills acquired at this institution, will be instrumental in crafting meaningful solutions. With this, I solemnly celebrate your passage onto new and promising chapters in your lives and draw my remarks to a close.
Once again, allow me to offer my deepest congratulations on your remarkable achievements on this momentous day.
September 22, 2023
President of Yamagata University,