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President's message for 2021 entrance ceremony

Published on Apr 08, 2021


April 6th, 2021 

President's message for 2021 entrance ceremony 

Osaka City University
President Tetsuo Arakawa

Congratulations on this beautiful day to all undergraduate and graduate students who are celebrating their entrance into Osaka City University, and to their families who have been looking forward to this day. 

Since the beginning of last year, we were ravaged to an unprecedented degree by COVID-19 and were unable to hold a real entrance ceremony. With a lot of ingenuity, we threw together a virtual entrance ceremony and although it was well received, nothing beats the real thing. I rejoice with all of you that this year, we were able to hold a real entrance ceremony, ensuring all possible measures to prevent infection were taken. I would like to thank all staff members who worked so hard on the special preparations. 

You all, new students, are the "chosen ones" who overcame this extremely difficult year to achieve admission. That is a wonderful thing. Always remember to be grateful to your family, friends, and seniors who supported you in this endeavor, as you could not have done it alone. Also, please do not forget that there are people who lost the battle. Your university life should be one of taking care of these people. Hone your knowledge, skills, and humanity, and show leadership so that all human beings can be equally happy. 

This year is a special year for our university. It is the last year Osaka City University will accept students. I hope that you will be able to make a lasting impression on the graduates of Osaka City University, and at the same time, I hope that you will play a leading role in the development of the new university, Osaka Metropolitan University (tentative name), which will be created through our merger with Osaka Prefecture University next year, 2022. I ask all of you to work towards your two major missions of "finishing the job" and "passing on the baton to the new university". 

All staff and students will be working together to make our "Last Ichidai Year" a special year. Although "last" means "the end", it also has the double meaning of "to continue.” May our "last ichidai year" have a “lasting” effect on the new university. Let’s team up with our new classmates and work on various projects over the following year. I look forward to it. 

Our university, with its long history and tradition, celebrated its 140th anniversary last year. One of the philosophies of Tomoatsu Godai, who established the roots of our university, the Osaka Commercial Training Institute, is "altruism," or the spirit of putting others before oneself. Many people placed their trust in Mr. Godai, who carried on the samurai spirit as a Satsuma clan member, and he developed a strong personal network, resulting in him being called the father of the modern Osaka economy. 

At the same time as Tomoatsu Godai, Dr. William Smith Clark, the first head of Sapporo Agricultural College, left his students with the famous words, “Boys, be ambitious.” As everyone knows, the reason why there are no girls is because it was an all-boys school. The point is what Dr. Clark said next, "not for money.” This is something few people know. In other words, "Boys, be ambitious. But not for money, not for self-interest, and not for fame. Embrace your ambition in all that you should be or do as a human being.” This is perfectly in line with the spirit of "altruism" of Tomoatsu Godai. Similarly, the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), which were adopted at the UN Summit in September 2015, and which we are also promoting at our university, are in line with our activities to protect the global environment and bring about equality and happiness to mankind. 

Osaka City University, with its tradition and history, has produced astounding graduates, inheriting the samurai spirit and passionate blood of the university's creator, Tomoatsu Godai, and former Osaka Mayor Hajime Seki, who promoted the Osaka Commercial Training Institute to Osaka University of Commerce. The school has produced many CEOs, mainly from publicly listed companies, including Shinjiro Torii, founder of Suntory, Tokushichi Nomura, founder of Nomura Securities, Gisaburo Shiono, founder of Shionogi Pharmaceutical, and Keiichiro Takahara, founder of Unicharm. In the humanities, we have produced the Akutagawa Prize-winning writer Takeshi Kaiko, and in the sciences, two Nobel Prize-winning scientists, Yoichiro Nambu and Shinya Yamanaka. These graduates created the free and enterprising spirit of Osaka City University, which has been handed down from generation to generation to Ichidai students. I hope that you, too, will be proud to be an Ichidai student and challenge various things with your free ideas. 

Last year, classes were mainly online due to the Corona disaster. Although we were hurt, we were able to learn a lot about COVID-19. There are still many things we don't know, yet we will be bold and sensitive this year. We have ensured the safety of the classroom and will continue to use traditional face-to-face classes as the basis, but we have also experienced the advantages of online classes, so we will actively incorporate these as well. 

Please do not be overly afraid of the COVID-19 infections but fear it responsibly with the right knowledge and information. Last October when we conducted the university-wide PCR test for those who wanted it, about 2,400 people took the test and all of them tested negative - zero cases. This proves how safe our campus was at this point. We also provide rubbing alcohol to those who wish to use it, and actively educate people about infection prevention measures, and no clustered outbreaks have occurred yet. 

Our faculty and staff are determined that not one student should be forced to give up their studies due to COVID-19, so we have been providing financial and mental support and will continue to do so in the future. Last year, the school declared a state of emergency in April and provided a uniform benefit of 50,000 yen in May to 1,679 students who were in financial need due to losing their part-time jobs. The funds were provided by the Education Supporters Association, an organization of caregivers, and the Yume Donation, which consists of donations from alumni and current students of the university. At the same time, we conducted mental health checks in response to the possibility that the number of students who are mentally depressed due to their inability to attend school or make friends is increasing. Our staff is fully committed to providing support so you can concentrate on your studies without worry. If you have any concerns at all, please feel free to consult the our “Counseling Room for Anything" 「学生なんでも相談室」 in the Student Affairs Division. 

There is a woman who was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the blood, at the age of 18, and despite a tough battle with the disease, she achieved a remarkable feat the day before yesterday. That's right, the swimmer Rikako Ikee. Even though medical science has advanced, cancer treatment still takes a toll on the body. Two years ago, no one could have imagined that she would win the Japanese Championships again and be selected for the Tokyo Olympics. I was struck by the words of Ms. Ikee, who has put in unimaginable perseverance and effort, "Hard work always pays off.” In the midst of the hardships of the Corona disaster, which is expected to continue for some time, you will be required to be patient and make extra efforts in your new university life. You will surely be rewarded. Believe in this and work hard at your studies while striving to protect yourself from infection by properly fearing COVID-19. 

What society is looking for in you is not what university you graduated from, but what you want to learn, what you want to be able to do, and where you want to go in life. To achieve this, I want you to take care of your inner self in addition to your academics. I would like you to focus on the following three elements: 1) initiative to think and act on your own, 2) tenacity to never give up, and 3) communication skills. The third element is humor and wit, and in this respect, our university in Osaka is the best place for you to learn. 

These three elements will lead to the enhancement of your human power. Extracurricular activities are a great place to hone these three elements, so please join some clubs. When I entered the university, there were no classes because of a school conflict, so I joined the baseball club, where I was able to develop my human power and make valuable friends, who still encourage and comfort each other 50 years later. Safety in extracurricular activities can be ensured by following the rules and taking sufficient measures against COVID-19. Problems arise when you go out for drinks afterwards. Please be careful about that. 

Five years ago, I set the slogan for our university as a "Glocal hub of wisdom and wellness filled with smiles”. The reason it is wrapped in a "smile" is because a happy life is the best. You are about to start your exciting university life, but you may also be anxious about things you are not used to and people you do not know. First and foremost, take action - express your curiosity, get involved in various activities, and try to get to know as many people as you can as soon as possible. I look forward to seeing you at our campus of "smiles". 

Once again, congratulations on your enrollment today.