Home > Entrance ceremony:The President's welcome address (April, 2023)
Congratulations to all new students on your enrollment. I would also like to extend my congratulations to your families who have supported you all along the way. It is a great pleasure for Yamagata University to meet all of you here today and to hold the 2023 Entrance Ceremony in person. The faculty and staff of Yamagata University and all of the current students welcome you as new members of the university community.
First of all, I would like to ask you all to consider the significance of holding the entrance ceremony in this way today. COVID19 has changed our lives. Especially at the beginning of the pandemic, our behavior was restricted to an unprecedented degree, and Yamagata University was unable to hold face-to-face entrance ceremonies for two years.
COVID19 has not yet been eradicated. Nevertheless, today we are able to hold the entrance ceremony in person, with the wearing of masks as a matter of personal decision; and because we have deepened our knowledge of the new coronavirus, through scientific research and social experience, we have turned it into something that can be overcome.
There is a famous aphorism by the philosopher Francis Bacon: "scientia est potentia (Knowledge is power)" True to his words, what we have learned during the COVID19 pandemic, was that when there is a threat or hindrance to society or to ourselves, knowing more about it empowers us to move forward. Today's ceremony is truly an example of 'knowledge is power', which we demonstrate through our actions. Everything you study at university from now on is for you to 'know' yourself and the world around you, and to make it your own strength.
The word 'scientia' means the knowledge that has been scientifically verified through experience. Compared to Francis Bacon's time, the world is now full of all kinds of information. An important goal of university study is to improve one's ability to identify what is reliable and what is not, a skill known as critical thinking. Rather than just accepting information as it comes in, you should use the knowledge you have acquired so far, and the knowledge you will acquire in your respective faculties and graduate schools, to determine its meaning and make it your own.
Furthermore, in your university studies, you will not only acquire new knowledge, but you will also be encouraged to participate in the research being carried out in your respective faculties and graduate schools, and to take on the challenge of creating new knowledge, such as concepts, discoveries, and inventions that have never existed before. Yamagata University's ultimate goal is to realize a sustainable well-being through education, research, and social co-creation. Well-being, sometimes translated as happiness in Japanese, means not only a state of physical and mental health, but also that each individual is socially fulfilled. It means not only physical and mental health, but also social fulfilment. We hope that you will also deepen your thinking about how the new 'knowledge' you are working with will bring about wellbeing in your university studies.
There is one more thing I would like you to be aware of when you enroll at university. After the age of 18, you are allowed to act as a fully responsible individual in society. The idea of studying for a few years at university and then going out into the world is a thing of the past. There is no need to wait until you graduate from university to do what you want to do. Even as a student, you can act as an independent individual in society in order to realize the dreams you have in mind.
To this end, Yamagata University offers various opportunities for you to play an active role as a contributing member of society. Some of our students have proposed new business plans based on the results of their research, and some of their seniors have obtained research funding to realize their plans. There are also senior members of our clubs who have used what they have learnt in class as a starting point to engage in activities to revitalize their local communities, and have received the 'Shining Prefectural Citizens' Activity Award. Your time as a student is a precious time in your life when you can spend your time as you wish. Please make the most of this precious time and actively try things you have never been interested in before, or things you thought were in a different world, to expand the world in which you are active.
As our society as a whole is undergoing behavioral change, you may feel anxious, as well as hopeful, as you begin your new life. However, you are not alone in the university. There will always be someone by your side who cares about your existence. As you experience many things in the future, you may sometimes face things that you cannot solve on your own, or things that are difficult or painful. In such difficult times, please call on your friends and family, as well as us, the teaching staff. The faculty and staff of Yamagata University will do their utmost to support you at all times.
On behalf of the faculty and staff of Yamagata University, I sincerely wish you all a fulfilling time at Yamagata University.
President Tamate Hidetoshi, April 3 2023