President’s Welcome Address
LastUpDate： April 06, 2020
I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all incoming undergraduate and graduate students of Osaka Prefecture University. A combined total of 2,199 students are entering Osaka Prefecture University this April for undergraduate and graduate study. As the president of this university, I welcome you all. I would also like to express my wholehearted congratulations to the family members and friends who have been looking forward to this day.
Originally, the entrance ceremony was going to be held at Osaka International Convention Center, but as a counter measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we had to cancel those plans. Please understand that this was a very difficult decision made from the perspective of ensuring everyone’s safety and preventing the spread of infection.
January through March of this year, the period when you took your entrance exams, was a very difficult time for Japan and the rest of the world. All of you here today succeeded in passing these exams in the midst of that anxiety, while being careful of your health. I respect your hard work and perseverance, and would like to say from the bottom of my heart, well done. Last month, our university’s commencement ceremony was also cancelled, but even so, we were able to send out approximately 2,000 new graduates into the world. Those graduating from our doctoral program this year started their undergraduate degrees the year of the Great East Japan earthquake, and I remarked how impossible that year is to forget. For all of you as well, the year that you enter university is sure to be a turning point in your life that will remain in your memory. As we are confronted with hardships such as a pandemic and natural disasters, which are beyond human control, I hope you can take this as an opportunity to think about how people ought to respond and behave in such situation.
Speaking of “thinking,” university is a place that values thinking even more deeply than the educational institutions you have experienced up until now. By nature, “thinking” is an enjoyable thing, but in order to think, you must properly acquire knowledge that will become the base of your thoughts. Confucius once said, “Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous”; we “learn” to prevent “thought” from leading to arbitrary decisions. In university and graduate school, you do not simply learn what someone teaches you; rather, going forward yourself and actively learning is fundamental here. In other words, it is assumed that students will learn independently and of their own initiative. I would first like to ask everyone to be aware of this point. We have classes, lectures, field work, experiments, and seminars prepared to support your upcoming independent, self-directed growth and learning in the most appropriate way. In addition, regarding what kind of learning you will acquire, it is fundamental to make your own study plan. In the future, when you enter society, you will take on various challenges, and it’s safe to say that knowledge from a single academic field alone will be insufficient to overcome any of those challenges. Our university has various options available including minor and academic degree programs, so please build a unique curriculum for yourself and enhance your learning. Enhancing your learning will connect to thinking properly. I hope that you will experience firsthand the joy of thinking at our university.
We have an academic program thoroughly dedicated to designing one’s own “learning” – namely, the leading graduate school program called “Graduate Course for System-inspired Leaders in Material Science.” This program, which we have developed with Osaka City University, covers the five-year period that includes both Master’s and Doctorate and aims to develop research leaders who can flourish in the industrial sector. Graduates of this program are already active in society, and we have received very positive feedback from their workplaces and companies. Furthermore, this March, the program received an “S” evaluation from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, which is the highest evaluation possible. We are currently working to make the courses in this program available for students outside of those enrolled in the program, with the plan of ultimately expanding this concept to be available for everyone.
To date, our university has received high praise particularly from the industrial sector. Last fiscal year, in the “Survey of Corporations’ HR Managers’ Impressions of Universities” published by the Nikkei and Nikkei HR, we placed tenth amongst all universities in Japan. This survey is based on the impressions that HR managers get of universities from the students they have hired in the past two years. Our university was evaluated particularly highly for interpersonal skills, and it was also noted that our graduates have good communication skills, high stress tolerance, are flexible, and are good at adapting.
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.” We have three campuses: Nakamozu, Habikino, and Rinku. The campuses are in places with bird-related names and near an international airport, so we 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, internationality, and variety of our students, faculty, and staff 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. To date, we have aimed to be a creative base for knowledge with the motto, “making connections in a university without walls.” With the strong will to always take on new challenges, we act to build connections without allowing barriers to stand between us. Here, we have a varied educational curriculum ready to respond to your desire to learn and your intellectual curiosity. In addition, we have the world’s cutting-edge research equipment, laboratories for trial experiments such as the R&D Center for the Plant Factory, and the Research Center for the 21st Century, which consists of approximately 50 unique interdisciplinary laboratories. From the basics to application, faculty and students work together as one on diverse academic research that is transmitted across the globe and receives high praise from both the academic and industrial sectors. I myself, the president of this university, still value my research time with students, and continue the research on solid-state batteries, a type of next-generation storage battery, which I have engaged in for many years. Everyone who will welcome you to this school—faculty, staff, current students, and myself—are passionate about what they do and are wishing sincerely that all of you starting at this university will have a fulfilling time here.
Outside of the intellectual activities conducted through studies, you can also take part in the school festival, club activities, volunteer activities, and exchange activities within the region, enabling you to further develop all variety of skills, such as planning, creativity, and communication skills. This university’s places of learning are not limited to its three campuses, either, but also include the urban base called “I-site Namba,” located in Namba. There is also the international hall “I-wing Nakamozu,” for engaging in multicultural exchange with students and guests from abroad, and over 100 universities around the world with which we have international exchange agreements. I hope you utilize these various bases of knowledge that the university has and your own ideas to build a truly strong connection with this region and the world. University is a place where you can develop yourself at your discretion, and the experiences you have here will all enrich you in mind and in body. In this limited time in which you can rejoice in your freedom, what should you do? What can you do only while you are in university? I hope you will all find your own answers for these questions.
This university originated as the training school for veterinary sciences formed in 1883, making it almost 140 years since the school began. Under the new education system , Naniwa University was established about 70 years ago in 1949, with a focus on engineering and agriculture, and that university went on to become Osaka Prefecture University. When he founded the university, the founder, the Osaka Prefecture Governor at the time said he would make the greatest university in all of Japan, a fact I am proud of. Fifteen years ago, the three prefectural universities of Osaka unified, and the current Osaka Prefecture University was created. Then, one year ago in 2019, 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. Currently, we are steadily moving toward the establishment of a new university by working to unify these universities, while maintaining close exchange and coordination. The new university that we seek to create will undoubtedly aim to become the greatest university in all of Japan. For students entering Osaka Prefecture University, I hope that you will fully utilize the merits of this “one-corporation, two-universities” period, and make your time at university something meaningful, including having exchanges with Osaka City University.
As I said, through your studies and through your extracurricular activities, I sincerely wish for you to meet and to cherish a variety of wonderful people. What you learn here, the good friends you make, the good teachers you meet—these will form the cornerstone of your success when you enter society. I hope that in 10 years, in 20 years, in however many decades to come, you can be proud that you studied at Osaka Prefecture University.
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, 2020
President, Osaka Prefecture University