President’s Welcome Address
LastUpDate： April 07, 2021
I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all incoming undergraduate and graduate students of Osaka Prefecture University.
Last year’s entrance ceremony was unfortunately cancelled due to the state of emergency, but today, I am very glad that we can hold the 2021 Entrance Ceremony here. This year, a combined total of 2,228 students are entering Osaka Prefecture University for undergraduate and graduate degrees. On behalf of the university, I would like to welcome you. I would also like to express my heartfelt congratulations to your family members and friends who have been looking forward to this day.
Living through this ongoing pandemic has been a first-time experience for most people around the world. For everyone here, the pandemic coincided with your entrance exams. In this year of anxiety, all of you here today succeeded in those exams while being careful of your health. I would like to express my respect for your hard work and perseverance, and say from the bottom of my heart, well done. The year that you enter university or graduate school is sure to be a memorable point in your life. As we are confronted with hardships that humans are helpless against, such as a pandemic or natural disasters, I hope you can take this as an opportunity to think about how people ought to behave and how we can turn these difficult circumstances into opportunities.
This school was originally a training school for veterinary science established in 1883 and will soon celebrate 140 years since its foundation. In 2005, Osaka’s three prefectural universities were combined, creating the current Osaka Prefecture University. Then, in 2019, the University Public Corporation Osaka was founded, forming a single organization that consists of Osaka Prefecture University, Osaka City University, and Osaka Prefecture University College of Technology. Finally, next academic year, we will combine with Osaka City University, and become Osaka Metropolitan University. You are the final class that this university will welcome as Osaka Prefecture University, but please be at ease knowing that the system of colleges, schools, and graduate schools that you all enter will be maintained until your graduation. On the contrary, I hope you will view our merging with Osaka City University from your second year here as a benefit and make your time at university a meaningful one, including interactions with Osaka City University.
Currently, we are closely coordinating with Osaka City University as we steadily prepare to merge our universities. Seventy-two years ago, when Osaka Prefecture University was established, the Governor of Osaka at the time, Bunzō Akama, said he would make the greatest university in Japan. Thus, began what was Naniwa University at the time (which became Osaka Prefecture University six years later). Since then, some 100,000 students have graduated from this university, going on to thrive in every sector of society and make brilliant developments. Next year, when we merge with Osaka City University, which also boasts 140 years of history and tradition, we will undoubtedly strive to become the “greatest university in Japan.” From next academic year, three universities including the new university will coexist. For everyone entering this university, this coexistence can only be of benefit with no negative effects, so I hope you will work hard at your studies without reservation.
Now let me ask you what kind of place a university is. How does it differ from the educational institutions you have experienced leading up to now? A university’s basic functions are education, research, and contribution to society. It is also said to be a place to pursue the succession of knowledge, the creation of knowledge, and the utilization of knowledge. Some people simply define it as a place of learning. Yukichi Fukuzawa’s An Encouragement of Learning, a best-seller with over 3.4 million copies sold, preaches the equality of all people with the phrase, “heaven does not create one person above or below another”; Fukuzawa goes on to argue that differences among individuals arise because of whether or not one has learned. Further, regarding learning, Fukuzawa states “one must wholly devote oneself to practical studies that are useful to everyday life,” and that “cooking one’s food and heating one’s bath are a part of learning.” I believe that this book was arguing for the importance of people learning for their entire lives and of all individuals obtaining the acumen to think with his or her own head during the period of dramatic upheaval that was the Meiji Restoration. This argument is also relevant to our current unstable period of change. In this era of 100-year-lives, I would like for all of you to continue learning always from this point onward. I hope that you will take in the wealth of information available to you, sort it in your mind, and continue thinking about it independently.
University is the place where you build the foundation for continuing to learn and to think as you go forward in life. The greatest difference university has with the educational institutions you have attended up to now is that knowledge is being passed down in a place where it is also created and utilized. In other words, what is important is that education is being conducted in the same place as research and social contributions. This is the driving force that will enable you to pursue active learning. Active learning in which one proactively studies is the basis for undergraduate and graduate studies; it is assumed that students will learn independently and of their own initiative. We have classes, lectures, fieldwork, experiments, and seminars prepared to support your upcoming independent, self-directed growth and to support your learning in the most appropriate way. Last academic year, during the pandemic, our university’s faculty gave careful consideration to how online classes should be conducted going forward and refined their on-demand teaching materials. We are aiming for the best combination of face-to-face and online education, with face-to-face as the basis, for the support that you will receive going forward, so I hope you will enjoy attending your classes. Also, in your educational experiences up to now, I imagine you have not had a very wide range of choices for the classes you took. At university, however, the foundation of your studies—whatever you may choose to pursue—will be comprised of the study plan that you create yourself. In the future, when you enter society, you will take on various challenges, most of which you will not be able to overcome with knowledge from one academic field alone. This university has various options available, such as minor programs, so please create a unique curriculum for yourself and enhance your learning.
At our graduate school, we have developed a leading graduate school program thoroughly dedicated to designing one’s own learning with Osaka City University. This is an educational program for developing research leaders who can flourish in the industrial sector. Every year, its graduates enter society, and we receive very positive feedback from the companies they work for. Furthermore, this program has received an “S” evaluation from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, which is the highest evaluation possible. The courses in this program are also available to students outside of those enrolled in the program, and we are working to expand its concept to our undergraduate school education as well. To date, this university has traditionally received high praise from the industrial sector, and we continue to rank amongst the top universities in the nation in surveys such as the “Survey of Corporations’ HR Managers’ Impressions of Universities.”
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.” In our education, research, and contributions to society, we value the viewpoints of diversity, unity, and internationality. For diversity, we respect not only the diversity of culture, specialized fields, and values, but also the diversity of our students, faculty, and staff who uphold that diversity, as well as global diversity. We have various educational curriculums ready to respond to your desire to learn and your intellectual curiosity. We also have the world’s cutting-edge research equipment and a variety of research centers.
In addition, outside of the intellectual activities conducted through studies, you can take part in the school festival, club activities, volunteer activities, and social activities within the region, enabling you to develop all variety of skills, such as planning, creativity, and communication skills. University is a place where you can develop yourself at your discretion, and all the experiences you have here will enrich you in mind and in body. In this limited time in which you can enjoy total freedom, what should you do? What can you do only while you are in university? I would like you all to find your own answers for these questions, and I sincerely hope that all of you entering this university will have a fulfilling time here.
In closing, I would like to express my high hopes for all incoming students. I give you my sincerest congratulations.
April 6, 2021
President Masahiro Tatsumisago
Osaka Prefecture University