ICU 2012 Autumn Matriculation Address by Junko Hibiya, President


"From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded." (Luke 12:48b)

I would like to extend my congratulations to all members of the incoming class. May I also offer warm greetings to the friends and families watching the ceremony in this Chapel.

ICU was founded in 1953 by the fruit of international cooperation. Thus, next year will be our sixtieth anniversary. Over those six decades, ICU has tried to cultivate responsible global citizens who are able to contribute to genuine peace and coexistence among people. In order to realize our mission, we seek to admit students coming from diverse geographical, cultural and educational backgrounds. All of you are expected to enrich our campus life.

At a time when the knowledge base and methods of inquiry are constantly expanding, 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 will develop habits of mind that include the following qualities. Based on your academic foundation, you will become able to plan your own path for creative and independent learning. You can communicate effectively both in writing and in speech. You will always think critically. You will have enough ability to identify and solve problems. And finally, you will 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.

In this matriculation ceremony, you will take the "Student Pledge" shortly and promise to lead a student life based on the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. At the rehearsal for this ceremony, Dean of Students, Professor Yuji Shimizu, explained to you the history and significance of the student pledge. With this pledge, each of you will become, in name and reality, a constituent member of the community that we call ICU. You will be colleagues working together with the faculty and staff to create our university's future.

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 remember and acknowledge them on this occasion. Such a situation prompts careful reflection on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Its first article states, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." It is a great blessing to receive a university education. What should one do in order not waste the opportunity? What should you do through your studies and extracurricular activities at ICU, to realize a world where all people can live without suffering want or fear? Please give this question serious thought. Surely each of you has a different role to fulfill in realizing such a world. You are different from another. This is because God has provided for each of you unique gifts. Through the significance of the gifts you possess, you will gain an awareness of the calling or, we may say, the mission that each of you has been given. The next few years will be period in which you will discover that mission.

The declaration's first article goes on to say, "Human beings are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." In the life that you are about to begin here at ICU, you will surely meet a great diversity of people. In meeting such diverse individuals, I ask that you seek to understand those who are different from yourself, and through that understanding, reaffirm who you yourself are. In so doing, you may also try to deepen your connection with others. At ICU, there will be many opportunities where, through the mutual support of others, you will gain considerable experience in "acting towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

At the start of my address to you I offered my congratulations on entering ICU, but these were not meant as congratulations for being admitted to the university or coming to today's matriculation ceremony. It is a blessing that you have taken the first step forward towards being one "to whom much is given." Prepare for the time when "much will be required" of you and when "they will demand the more." Please spend each day at ICU as a valuable one. May I reiterate that each of you has been given special blessing. Congratulations on your entrance to ICU.