ICU 2012 Summer Commencement Address by Junko Hibiya, President


I would like to extend my congratulations to all those graduates of the College of Liberal Arts who have received their bachelor's degrees, and to those Graduate School students who went on to even further study and received their master's and doctoral degrees. Permit me to offer my heartfelt greetings to the friends and families of today's graduates.

I took up office as president about ninety days ago. In my very first matriculation ceremony speech, I stressed that, after taking the pledge, every student here is entrusted to work together with the faculty and staff to create our university's future, as members of the community that we call ICU. I am confident that you have given serious thought to the meaning of your pledge and that you have tried to embody the university's mission and ideals by applying yourself academically, and by energetically participating in extracurricular activities.

At a time when the knowledge base and methods of inquiry are constantly expanding, no one would assume that learning ends at graduation. A twenty first century higher education must equip students to engage in a lifetime of learning, to meet the changing demands of the world. Such an education ought to facilitate productive and rewarding careers, and provide students with the means to become responsible global citizens. With your education here, we hope that you have developed habits of mind that include the following qualities. Based on your academic foundation, you are now able to plan your own path for creative and independent learning. You can communicate effectively both in writing and in speech. You always think critically. You have enough ability to identify and solve problems. And finally, you have the capacity to integrate knowledge across the arts and sciences and to implement theories in real-world settings. All of these timeless qualities will constitute the foundation of your life and will serve you well.

As we gather in this Chapel today, there are countless people who live their lives with the bare minimum, those who are not able to receive even an elementary school education. All of us must acknowledge and remember them on this occasion.

Each of you has a different role to fulfill in realizing a world where everyone can live peacefully without suffering want or fear. The years spent at ICU have been a period during which you have gained an awareness of the calling that you have received.

We hope that faculty and staff have created and maintained a learning environment where you have reached your fullest potential. Professors conduct research with the purpose of advancing the frontiers of scholarship while students learn by actively participating in the process of creating new knowledge. In other words, students and faculty together engage in the act of exploration of ideas. It would be our honor if, whatever we do, changed and shaped you and that you discovered your calling because of your varied experience at ICU.

The world today is fast becoming interconnected. People from every corner of the earth learn about and communicate with each other. To navigate our ever-shrinking world, educated people must demonstrate competency in at least one, desirably two or more languages other than their own. Japanese-English bilingual environment at ICU, therefore, represents one of the essential components of a twenty-first century education. Most of the workplaces where your generation will be employed do not operate in a single language. It is crucial to have the capacity to accept others with different backgrounds, and to negotiate using a language that may not be the mother tongue of either party. A vibrant life at ICU, where difference among its members is valued, has helped you nurture the ability to work together with others towards common goals, and develop an appreciation for diversity.

Education at ICU always encourages students to learn both inside and outside the classroom. We try to reach out to communities around us that are important laboratories for learning. Now it is time for you to further your commitment to fulfill your civic duty, to promote humane values, and to maintain what we define as a just society through a unity of learning and service.

Ask, search, and knock. Follow your passions. Put your education to good use. Lead lives that adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as you vowed when you matriculated. And do return here some day, to share with us your achievements after ICU.

Good luck and may God bless you.