President Junko Hibiya's Address "On Appointment to the Office of President"


A Reading from the Gospel According to Matthew: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

(Matthew 6:19-21)

I am grateful that many people are able to join us here today.

At the Matriculation Ceremony, three days ago, I recounted that I joined ICU, as a Faculty member in the Division of Languages, in April 2002. At that time, Dr Masakichi Kinukawa was serving as the eighth President. He was followed by President Norihiko Suzuki, and now, in turn, ICU appoints its tenth President.

As you know, today is Good Friday, an important day in the religious calendar when Christians throughout the world commemorate the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. We decided on the orientation schedule for new students with an eye to avoiding program conflict, Alas, at that time, we did not notice that the particular day chosen was, in fact, Good Friday. Time had already passed and we were left with no alternative schedule. Though we sought good advice concerning a possible rescheduling of this ceremony, further reflection on this coincidental date perhaps presents something of particular significance for both ICU and myself. Permit me, therefore, to propose two points here.

Firstly, it will be said, rightly, that many difficulties lie in store for us. However, any constituent of ICU, the President in particular, is expected to bear their cross without hesitation. When ICU was founded, in the spirit of deep reflection, at the end of World War II, our predecessors, such as the first President, Professor Hachiro Yuasa, proclaimed ICU's aim to work towards "a university of tomorrow" in a perpetual endeavor to perfect the institution. If we fail to scrutinize ourselves, if we fail to embrace the regular process of inspection, evaluation, determination and implementation, then it will not be possible to adhere to this ideal. Through the second to ninth Presidents, each worked to resolve the issues that arose in the presidency with tenacity and earnest prayer. If we are to reach higher to ICU's founding goal, to cultivate superlative individuals who can help contribute to real peace and coexistence for humankind, then I would aim for a community that cherishes the kind of resolve that bears, with gladness, the cross that we must bear. Surely, it is through hardship that those who study and work at ICU will find peace.

Secondly, we long for the cross. In the second stanza of hymn 142, we sang, "Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ, my God." That which happens on the cross today is not death but salvation. In the fourth stanza, we raised our voices, proclaiming, "Did ever such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown." Without the cross, there can be no glory. Together with everyone who is part of ICU, I carry out my duties with the constant thought of the joy of the Resurrection and with prayer and thanks in my heart.

As part of my address to you today, I would mention three ideas on the kind of image I have of the ICU I hope to work towards creating.

It hardly bears repeating that ICU is a university that stands in accord with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The great tradition at ICU treating each individual with care and kindness is unparalleled as something which realizes an essential quality of the Christian faith, namely, that we are all equal as children of God. When I am asked what kind of university ICU is, I want to say, "it is a university where each individual's potential is brought to fruition." All men and women, without distinction, have been given special gifts from God. It is a first requirement to discover what gifts we possess how they differ from others.

Each year, following the commencement ceremony, ICU holds an afternoon reception to confer the Friends of ICU Academic Awards, as we did two weeks ago. Listening to the recipients at these ceremonies, we marvel at the diversity of their fields of study, their senior thesis topics, and post-graduation plans. At the same time, we are witness to their awareness of individual gifts and a university experience that has been guided by this self-awareness.

The work of ICU's faculty and staff is to support students in the process of realizing and expanding their gifts. The faculty and staff, myself included, have had, at one time or another, I think, an opportunity to reflect on what gifts they have received. Thus, we find ourselves here. However, occupied as we are with our daily responsibilities, we are forced to admit that there are times when the fundamental nature of our work at ICU, to make use of our individual gifts to support one another, is neglected. To forge a university that draws out the potential of all members of its community, regardless of position and age: this is my foremost objective.

Secondly, flowing from the above, I aim for ICU to be "a university where each individual discovers his or her calling". Addressing the incoming class at the matriculation ceremony, I emphasized two points: gaining an awareness of their individual gifts, they may become aware of their own mission and that their years at ICU become a period of discovery for this mission.

Nowadays, the expression "career education" Is common parlance. Needless to say, this cannot be equated merely with the process of finding the job you want after graduation. A career is the role we fulfill in society through work. ICU was founded with the aim of "cultivating superlative individuals, who serve both God and humanity and who have been educated as internationally minded citizens." While everyone possesses different aims in their work, I trust that all students during their time at ICU will realize what those gifts are and choose a path that makes greatest use of their gifts, not for themselves, but for others, for society. To make this kind of choice, it is important to have a sense of calling. ICU's curriculum and its various programs urge students on through the process of discovering their mission. I hope to make further improvements to these areas.

Finally, as I said earlier, ICU has always aimed to be "a university of tomorrow." I will continue to adhere to this motto and have ICU be "a university that continues to mature as it pursues its ideals." In the decade since I arrived at ICU, I have come to learn its philosophy and history. It is a university that rose from the ashes of World War II through the donations of countless individuals who had a belief in the future. This is something we must continue to tell people. By pursuing the ideals of greater height and depth, I believe it is possible for us to respond to the prayers of those people who were the first to place their hopes in an "unfinished university."

It was frankly very difficult to select a passage for the Director of the Religious Center to read today. There are many passages that encapsulate the ideas I have expressed here. However, once I realized that today was, in fact, Good Friday, I contemplated finding a passage relating to the Crucifixion of Jesus. After all, I decided to choose my favorite passage from the Gospel according to Matthew. "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." All the treasure that can be offered, through service to God and humankind, can be stored in heaven and will never diminish. For the glory of God, I will use all that I possess to fulfill the duties of my office. Thank you.