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Degree Conferment Ceremony of March FY2019

March FY 2019 Degree Conferment Ceremony took place at School of Materials Science Lecture Hall on March 25(Wed.), 2020. A total of 272 students: 252 students in the Master's program and 20 students in Doctoral program received their diplomas.

Number of student

Master's program Doctoral program
School of Knowledge Science 2 1
School of Information Science 0 3
School of Materials Science 0 0
Graduate School of Advanced
Science and Technology
School of Knowledge Science 74 4
School of Information Science 96 3
School of Materials Science 72 9
Division of Transdisciplinary Sciences 8 -
total 252 20
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Student receives a diploma

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Awarding of
outstanding students
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President Asano gives a
farewell address
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Address of thanks by the
student representative

Commencement Speech of the President

Dear Graduates

Good morning, graduates, their family and friends, and faculty and staff of JAIST. I am pleased to welcome you all to this Commencement Ceremony. Dear graduates, I am truly proud of your accomplishment today, receiving a graduate degree from JAIST after years of hard work to successfully satisfy all of the requirements. I also know that your families are proud of you, too. Without their support you could not have been here today. It is unfortunate that this year, this ceremony had to be reduced in size due to the new coronavirus. I am sorry for those families and friends who were planning to attend.

As everyone is aware of, the world today is facing an unprecedented scale of changes. In particular, the required skills and talents are beginning to change greatly. In the field of science and technology, being familiar with a single specialty was considered enough, but in the near future society, a flexible way of thinking is required to adapt yourself to continuous changes. So, how can we acquire such adaptability? I believe it can be attained by gaining confidence. If you have unshakable confidence in your abilities, I believe it will be easier for you to adapt yourself to unexpected changes.

What, then, can you do to build this confidence? Of course, it's not as simple as just deciding, "Yes, OK. I will be confident from now on." What is confidence? Think about your past efforts, and how hard you worked at the time. I believe that confidence is also related to believing that you can work hard to achieve goals in the future. All of you here today at this commencement ceremony have satisfied all the difficult requirements necessary to graduate from JAIST. If you were a student in a different postgraduate school, you might have been able to earn credits by just submitting reports. But at JAIST, every class has written examinations and that must have been continuous challenge for you in earning credits required for your graduation. I believe that your efforts in studying and supporting one another at the shared space in JAIST led many of you to success in completing your study here. In particular, after our three schools were integrated as one school, it became easier to take classes offered in the other fields. I assume the integration of schools provided more opportunities than before to many of you to talk with students of the other fields. I believe that such an environment actually influenced your ways of thinking. And it also provided all of you without being noticed a broader perspective as you worked for your master's or doctoral degree.

When we integrated the three schools, we worried about what might happen to the relationship between supervising professors and students. Before we were convinced that supervising professors had to provide instruction and guidance not only for research, but for all aspects of their students' academic life. At an ordinary university, students move on to a postgraduate program after four years of undergraduate study at the same university, so professors know their students from their first year. In such a setting, usually professors tend to see their students based on a strong and lasting first impression of the students which they got several years ago. This impression may make professors perceive their relationship with students as a parent-child relationship of their own in which parents tend to meddle with their children's life. This relationship was one of my targets for improvement in introducing the integrated graduate school system. I talked with students who attended open campus events, and found that students today are much more independent than those in the past. As I talked with students who have strong intension to do a research of their own interest, I came to feel that some students are most likely to choose the professors who can provide useful advice for their research. Such students tend to ask for only research guidance from their professors but not advice on how to improve their study habits or their ways of living. As a matter of course, I have also come to think that some students could aim for a degree in a field different from their supervisors' specialty. I had hoped that we would see such brave students in the near future. But, to my surprise, we saw it happened in the very first year of our integrated graduate school system. It seemed to symbolize a sign of the changing times. So we must stop saying things like "the younger generation today is no good," as people often do, but value the younger generation based on who they truly are. In addition, I felt that we could get such independent students because of the absence of undergraduate program at JAIST. I believe that it is extremely important to identify each student as an adult individual, apart from how they were in their undergraduate years.

I hope to see each and every one of you go on to play important roles in your work, but I also want to mention the importance of the subtheme or minor research project, which is also a core of education at JAIST. In recent years, more and more schools have introduced subtheme, but 30 years ago when JAIST was established, it was a system unique to JAIST only. The subtheme was introduced with a hope that students would be able to develop multifaceted points of view. After starting research for a master's or doctoral degree, you might find yourself really enjoying the research, and develop a strong desire to focus specifically on a single research topic. Our bold decision to insist that students also work on subtheme came from our hope that students would always have some extra room in their mind. We conduct a survey of our graduates10 years after their graduation. The results tell us that there are many graduates who did not notice the importance of subtheme when they were studying at JAIST but came to realize how useful they were after graduation. If you have an additional pocket of a subtheme, it can surely broaden your view. I would like you to keep that in your mind and continue searching for new subtheme even after graduating from JAIST. Such an attitude helps you cope with diverse changes more easily.

Training your body is also very important. Prof. Yamanaka who is the Nobel Prize laureate participated in Kanazawa Marathon and completed it in 3 hours and 30 minutes. It is as fast as 12 kilometer per hour. I could keep running at that pace not more than 2 kilometers. My point is Prof. Yamanaka has surely spent his time not only for doing his research but also for training for marathon race. I believe exercise would make us create an extra space in our mind.

Since I became a president, I have also committed myself to training my body. I used to spend a whole day at my house without doing anything just to relieve myself from fatigue from my research. However, I changed my mind to do some excises especially when I feel tired. Then, I decided to go to a gym. Though I am little reluctant to participate in group activities such as yoga or aerobics, I like running on a treadmill. I realized that about forty minutes of running and perspiring surely help me relieve from my fatigue. Recently, I watched a TV program called Cool-Japan by NHK, National Broadcasting Company, and it depicted women who train their body seriously. One woman was asked, "Why do you work so hard to train your body?", she answered she wanted to win the fight against herself. I was deeply impressed. Another woman said wining the fight against herself makes her feel no fear of anything in the society and that encouraged her to work more proactively. There was a brave narrative by another woman that she could make a decision to change her job. Participants from foreign countries consider these women as a proof that Japanese women have become more independent without depending upon men. And I agree with them.

Today, you are graduating from JAIST to aim at higher goals of your life. I want you to recognize yourself as a qualified new global leader. I strongly hope for every one of you to take a great leadership in society or industry, and guide the world to the highest level of its development.
Thank you very much, and my congratulations to all of you.

March 25, 2020

PAGETOP