Osaka Prefecture University

President’s Welcome Address

LastUpDate: April 10, 2019

I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all incoming undergraduate and graduate students of Osaka Prefecture University.

I am thrilled to be able to celebrate the 2019 entrance ceremony here today with so many guests, family members, and friends in attendance. This year, a combined total of 2204 students are entering Osaka Prefecture University for undergraduate and graduate degrees. As the representative of this school, I welcome you all. I would also like to express my heartfelt congratulations to the family members and friends who have been looking forward to this day.

This school originated as a veterinary training school formed in 1883, 136 years ago. The school was then established as a university under post-war guidelines in 1949, making this its 70th year since foundation as a university. In addition, in 2005, the three prefectural universities of Osaka were unified to form Osaka Prefecture University, and now 14 years have passed since then. Now, on April 1st of this year, the University Public Corporation Osaka was formed, making a single organization that contains Osaka Prefecture University, Osaka City University, and Osaka Prefecture University College of Technology. From now on, we will steadily move toward the unification of the universities, while continuing close exchange and coordination between them. When the university was formed under post-war guidelines, the Osaka Prefecture Governor of the time, Bunzo Akama, said he would make the greatest university in all of Japan and established Naniwa University, which became Osaka Prefecture University six years later. Since then, over 100,000 people have graduated and flourished in all areas of society, succeeding in brilliant advancement in the world. The new university that Osaka Prefecture University and Osaka City University seek to form through their unification will surely aim to become the greatest university in all of Japan. For the students entering Osaka Prefecture University, this can be of benefit, so please work hard in your studies.

Now, I would like to address to the new undergraduate students.

University is quite different from the educational institutions you have experienced through high school. Everything at a university works from the assumption that students will endeavor in their studies independently and of their own initiative. I would like everyone to be very aware of this point. A university could also be called a place of independent learning and independent study. Classes, lectures, seminars, experiments, field work—everything in the curriculum that the university provides is designed to support each student’s individual study, learning, and growth in the most appropriate way possible.

I’m sure everyone here passed this university’s entrance exam as a result of their studies for exam, but in university, we mainly use the word “scholarship” rather than the word “study.”

Until now, you have engaged in “study,” written in Japanese with characters meaning “to endeavor by force,” with the goal of taking examinations in which there is always a correct answer. Now, however, you will engage in “scholarship,” written in Japanese with characters meaning “to learn from questions,” and in scholarship there may not always be one correct answer. Scholarship means to learn by asking, “why?” “how?” and to seek answers without being made to do so by anyone. When studying for exams, there is always a correct answer, and in some ways such study can become a sort of training to try and solve exam problems more quickly. However, in true scholarship, whether or not you can find a solution quickly is not that important. First, you ask the questions yourself; in other words, you start from problem setting. You look up what is necessary by yourself, and exert your abilities and intelligence to their limits, thinking and pondering and seeking a solution. Often, you will not know whether or not there even is a solution, and even if there is a solution, there is no guarantee that there’s only one. Regardless of your field of scholarship and area of study, finding solutions yourself that you can be satisfied with is important. From this month I have accepted the position of university president.  However, I still continue my research in all-solid-state batteries to resolve the future energy issue. I have spent many years in my research. Since my laboratory students and I are always trying to find solutions by ourselves, we are at the eve of realizing practical use of all-solid-state batteries.  Over these next four years as an undergraduate student, by all means, acquire this skill of thinking things through to the end. The university curriculum exists to enable you to do so.

Recently, the problems that occur around us involve a variety of extremely complicated factors, so almost none of them can be solved by someone with knowledge of one single field of scholarship or one type of expert knowledge. In 2012, we started a unique undergraduate curriculum to enable students to perform a wide variety of scholarship. To respond flexibly to the needs of modern society, we believe that it is not enough for the future leaders of society to excel in one specialized area; they must also have a highly-cultivated education and the knowledge and technical skills of a wide variety of fields. We have improved the quality of our educational research from the basic to the most specialized of fields and are providing thorough education that develops students’ practical abilities.

I would like to address this to those entering graduate school especially. We have the leading graduate school program called “Graduate Course for System-inspired Leaders in Material Science” to develop doctoral graduates who will become leaders of the industrial world. This program aims to be a new style of graduate school appropriate for the new era and has been recommended by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology. It helps graduate students develop the ability to see the entirety of a problem and the imagination to come up with new ideas. Seven years ago, after we made a joint application with Osaka City University, this program was selected. Graduates who have completed the course are steadily making their way up in the world, and this program is receiving exceptional feedback from both the academic and industrial communities. As I said before, what makes this program unique is that students become able to determine their own problem settings, think the problems through themselves, and seek solutions in a wider specialized field. We plan on making the courses in this program available for students outside of those enrolled in the program itself. In the future, where you went to school will not be as important as what you learned at that school, what you can do, and what you want to do now. At this university, please develop the true abilities that will be required in society from now on.

The founding principle of this school is to be “an advanced research university; a regional base of trust that spreads its wings to the world.” There are three campuses. The Nakamozu Campus is near stations with the names “Nakamozu” and “Shirasagi,” two bird-related names. Habikino Campus is located where legend says Yamato Takeru flew to after he passed away and became a great white bird. Rinku Campus is near Kansai International Airport, where multiple international flights come and go every day. This university has campuses that truly fit the image of spreading one’s wings to the world. And, in our education, research, and regional contribution activities, we value the viewpoints of “diversity,” “unity,” and “internationality.”

We respect the diversity of our faculty, staff, and students who uphold a diverse range of specialized fields and values, considering the diversity of culture to be the source of intercultural exchange, innovation, and creation, bringing humanity justice, freedom, and peace. From this same viewpoint of respecting globalization and diversity, we have aimed to be a creative base for knowledge with the slogan of “making connections in a university without walls.” With the will to always attempt new challenging things and an enterprising spirit, we act to build connections without allowing barriers to stand between us. Literally speaking, in the past 10 years, we have removed the tall walls around this campus and made the fences lower, so it’s now easy to see the inside of the campus from outside. By accumulating efforts to strengthen the bonds between faculty, staff, current students, graduates, and international students, we create circumstances where diversity is respected in a global environment. Here, we have a global, multi-faceted educational research organization ready to respond to your desire to learn and your intellectual curiosity. Further, we have the Research Center for the 21st Century: over 40 unique research labs well equipped with the world’s cutting-edge research equipment. The faculty, staff, and students who will welcome you here are all full of passion. I am confident that you will be able to have fulfilling undergraduate and graduate experiences at our university.

During your school life, outside of the intellectual activities you will do through your studies, you will also have interaction with friends, professors, school employees, graduates, and locals of this area. By participating in volunteer activities, clubs, and circles, you will be able to cultivate your communication skills, planning skills, creativity, and all other creative abilities. In particular, for undergraduates, the next four years, and for veterinary students, the next six years, will be an exceptionally rare time in your life wherein you will be able to act without answering to the demands or being under the control of others. University allows you to develop yourself at your discretion; your experiences here will all become assets for your future. In this limited time in which you can rejoice in your freedom, what do you want to do? What can you do only while you are in university? I hope you consider these questions. This university’s places of learning are not only Nakamozu, Habikino, and Rinku Campus, but also, the urban base “I-site Namba.” There is also the international hall called “I-wing Nakamozu,” where people can engage in multicultural exchange with students and visitors from abroad. We have over 100 international partnerships with universities around the world. I hope you utilize the various bases of knowledge that this university has to build a truly strong connection with this region and the world. Through your scholarship, through your extracurricular activities, I sincerely wish for you to make many good, life-long friends. What you learn at this school, the good friends you make, the good teachers you meet—these will form the cornerstone of your success after graduation. I hope that in 10 years, in 20 years, in however many decades to come, you can be glad that you studied at Osaka Prefecture University.

Finally, I would like to say a few words to the families here today. Congratulations on this auspicious occasion. Thank you for your presence here today. I have one request I would like to make of you. Osaka Prefecture University has established a fund using the hometown tax donation system to support our students in their deployment and studies abroad, clubs, volunteering, and other extracurricular activities, called the Tsubasa Fund. We would be deeply grateful if you could endorse and support the goal of this fund.

In closing, I would again like to express my high hopes for all incoming students whose new school life will start from today. I give you my sincerest congratulations.

April 6, 2019
Masahiro Tatsumisago, president of OPU