ICU 2014 Summer Commencement Address by Junko Hibiya, President


Matthew 7: 7-8 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."

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 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.

ICU was founded sixty-one years ago, in 1953, based on Christian ideals and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Then and now, establishing a university in Japan 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 Japanese Ministry of Education in October 1952, the purpose and mission of the new university were stated as follows.

International Christian University seeks to create an academic community of freedom and reverence based on the sprit 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 twelve points as a "University of Tomorrow."

Following this statement, the twelve important points are listed. Although there are values among them that are no longer relevant to the current campus situation, most of them have been cherished these past six decades.

Examples include:

"Devotion to education and the betterment of education through continuing critique and evaluation."

"Faculty shall come not just from Japan, but also from countries around the world. They shall be Christian scholars and teachers who are of superior character and academic ability."

"A community church will be established on campus and provide the foundation for religious life. This will affirm a Christian view of life and world ethos."

The first of these twelve is "to uphold academic freedom and promote comprehensive research," the second "to work to cultivate individual thinking abilities and powers of scientific criticism," and the fourth "to maintain links with society and aim to have noble truth as the motivating force behind a democratic society."

You have just received a diploma. The current Diploma Policy of the College of Liberal Arts defines that those who are awarded bachelor's degrees should have acquired:

Ability to bring together diverse knowledge, whether it stems from the sciences or the humanities, and to put such knowledge to use in real-world situations


Ability to identify and resolve problems with a foundation in critical thinking that can be directed at him/herself and others

Education at ICU strongly encourages students to learn both inside and outside the classroom. The places available for learning range from this campus of extraordinary flora, fauna and cultural heritage to foreign countries where students are engaged in various activities. I believe that many of you have realized the importance of transcending the boundaries of academic disciplines by reaching out to surrounding communities through participation in field trips and service learning during your time here. In addition, ICU places value on acquiring the ability to look at things from diverse points of view and analyze them logically and critically throughout the entire curriculum, from the language education program to research writing.

The seventh point listed in the "Application to Establish a University" states that "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 September and took Japanese Language courses during your first year. You should also 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 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. Those of you who did not have such an opportunity, I strongly encourage you to learn a new language after graduation.

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 learner." 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 "nurture 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 at the beginning says, keep asking, searching, and knocking. Then, each and every one of you will be given your way. May God bless you.