ICU 2014 Spring Commencement Address by Junko Hibiya, President


Junko Hibiya

Matthew 7:7-8

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the doorwill be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeksfinds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Graduates of the College of Liberal Arts, master's degree programs, and doctoral degree programs, congratulations! I express my heartfelt congratulations also to the families, relatives, and friends of the graduates watching this ceremony from Diffendorfer Memorial Hall.

AY2013, the year in which you are leaving the nest that is ICU, marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the university. Then and now, establishing a university requires permission. Application documents detailing the new university's intent, purpose, curriculum, faculty organizations, facilities, etc., are created and submitted to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, where they are reviewed. In the "Application to Establish a University" that ICU submitted to the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture on October 10, 1952, the university's "purpose and mission" were represented as follows.

International Christian University seeks to create an academic community of freedom and reverence based on the spirit of Christianity and takes as its purpose the nurturing of leaders with a keen sense of international culture and of being members of society.

This university is established through international cooperation and, as shown by its name, emphasizes the spirit of Christianity, international goodwill, and democracy. It stresses the following points as a "University of Tomorrow."

Following this, the values "especially cherished," twelve in all, are listed. Although there are values among them that are no longer relevant to the current campus situation, such as one pertaining to agricultural labor, most of them have been valued these past 60 years. Examples include:

These are values that ICU continues to cherish to this day.

Value 1 of 12 is "To uphold academic freedom and promote comprehensive research." Value 2 is "To work to cultivate individual thinking abilities and powers of scientific criticism.." Value 4 is "To maintain links with society and aim to have noble truth as the motivating force behind a democratic society." (Value 3 is the above-mentioned passage "Devotion to education") Just now, every one of you received a diploma. The current College of Liberal Arts defines the abilities that those who are awarded bachelor's degrees should have acquired:

Value 7 listed in the "Application to Establish a University" is "An international campus lifestyle shall be achieved by making Japanese and English the campus languages." Since its founding, ICU has firmly maintained Japanese-English bilingualism in all areas of campus life, from education and research to daily life. Many of today's graduates entered in April and concentrated on ELP during their first year. Afterwards, they should have acquired, through enrollment in general education courses and major courses, the "ability to learn in both Japanese and English and to use those languages to communicate with people from around the world" and the "ability to effectively express ideas in both oral communication and the written word," both of which are outlined in the Diploma Policy. What is especially important when you start working as a responsible member of society is the ability to communicate your knowledge and thoughts, even to people of different backgrounds and specialties, so that they can understand you well, as well as the ability to appropriately respond to the questions of others and develop meaningful arguments. In order to realize this in the 21st century as a global citizen, Japanese and English ability are a given, and it may be not be uncommon for proficiency in a third language to be needed, i.e. "2+1." Those of you who learned a third or even a fourth language in "World Languages" during your time here, please continue learning them even after graduation. Those of you who did not have such an opportunity, I strongly encourage you to learn a new language after becoming full-fledged members of society.

The first point of the current Diploma Policy is the "ability to learn creatively while strengthening his/her academic foundation and forming an independent plan as a self-motivated scholar." The society in which you will play an active role is always expanding and crossing boundaries. In order to respond to ever-changing global issues, it is necessary to proactively plan your learning and engage in life-long learning. As the word "commencement" indicates, today's ceremony is not the end but the start of new learning. Please make good use of the education you received at ICU and continue to cultivate the path of learning using your own strengths.

The master's degree is awarded to those who possess breadth and depth of knowledge and who have acquired research ability in their field as well as a remarkable ability to undertake jobs that require a high level of expertise. The doctoral degree is conferred on those who have either independently conducted research in their field or attained the necessary research ability to perform other highly specialized tasks, in addition to possessing the vast knowledge that serves as the foundation of their fields. To those of you who are embarking on your individual journeys from ICU's graduate school, it is hoped that you will use your expertise to lead the knowledge-based society of the 21st century.

At the beginning of today's address, I read a portion of the "purpose and mission" section from ICU's "Application to Establish a University." To reiterate, ICU's purpose is to "take as its purpose the nurturing of leaders with a keen sense of international culture and of being members of society." Those of you who were gathered here and received diplomas have sufficiently attained the abilities outlined in the Diploma Policy at the bachelor, master, or doctoral level and are standing at the starting line on your way to becoming leaders in your respective fields. The paths before you will likely differ. As the Bible passage read out loud at the beginning says, "ask," "seek," "knock." If you do that, the most appropriate path for you will definitely be opened to you. I pray that your path will have God's abundant blessings.