About Tokyo Tech

2017 Spring Entrance Ceremony for bachelor's program students

2017 Spring Entrance Ceremony for bachelor's program students

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It is my great pleasure to hold the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) 2017 Spring Entrance Ceremony for bachelor's degree students in the presence of executive faculty, staff members, and special guests. I warmly welcome the new students joining us today. You have all earned your place here. Congratulations. I would also like to thank the new Tokyo Tech parents for entrusting your sons and daughters to us. Welcome to the Tokyo Tech community.

Founded in 1881, Tokyo Tech celebrates its 136th anniversary this year as Japan's top university in science and technology. Throughout its long history, the Institute has trained outstanding professionals for key roles in industry and academia, and has contributed greatly to the well-being of humankind through its outstanding fundamental research and applied technical ingenuity. In April 2016, Tokyo Tech launched large-scale reforms to further enhance the quality of its teaching and learning. A new research system was established to strengthen research capabilities and actively promote international collaboration. These changes align closely with Tokyo Tech's continuous goal of making significant changes in society through science and technology.

Last fall, Honorary Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. A great honor for the whole Tokyo Tech community, this acknowledgement further shone the light on the Institute, and raised expectations to new levels. With these recent developments, I am delighted to welcome our new students on campus. You must be full of ambitions, and as you join this lively, exciting environment, the time to fulfill those ambitions has come.

Tokyo Tech's new education system, which took effect last April, was designed for you. As you may already know, the Institute's Schools and departments were reorganized, curricula and syllabi were renewed, and a quarter system was introduced to provide you with a more flexible, personalized student experience. While developing a firm understanding of the fundamentals of science and technology, you can focus on the field that interests you, discover and develop a specialization, and track your own progress as you expand your expertise. Once you discover the pace of learning best suited for you, some of you may want to expand your specializations, or even change them. That is fine. Whatever your chosen path, I encourage you all to take a proactive stance to your studies and challenge everything that comes your way. By doing so, you will make the most of the new education system and maximize your capabilities.

Tokyo Tech has long been known as a science and technology university that places great importance on the liberal arts. The diverse faculty at the newly established Institute for Liberal Arts provide courses in the humanities, social sciences, and languages, which are carried out in interactive, group work settings. Designed to supplement your specialized science and technology education, these courses will provide you with the social skills, creativity, and humanity to better understand the challenges of the 21st century as you formulate your own vision of a brighter future. I urge you to take full advantage of these courses.

In the latter half of your studies, you will select your specializations and receive guidance from academic supervisors so that you can fully enjoy the outstanding research-based education for which Tokyo Tech is recognized. After that, many of you will continue to graduate-level studies to further expand your skills and advance your research. Before you reach that stage, it is important for you to build your fundamental skills. Start tomorrow. Take charge of your studies. Allow yourself to grow and become aware of how you can contribute to a more peaceful, prosperous world.

Finally, I would like to point out that university life is not simply about academic achievement. It is much more than that. It is about becoming the person that you want to be. Enrich your life and gain experiences by engaging with your friends, professors, and all the brilliant people around you. Be inquisitive and take risks. Appreciate both your failures and successes. Recognize the importance of teamwork and strong leadership through extra-curricular activities. Experience the feeling of personal achievement and discover a new side to yourself by studying abroad. When I finished my master's program at Tokyo Tech in 1975, I entered the University of California at Berkeley in the United States, where I took my Ph.D. It was a long road. The academic environment was highly competitive and very different from what I was used to. However, the experience of overcoming challenges and achieving goals was very rewarding, and has a positive effect on me to this day. Some of you may want to try summer school or short-term programs, which offer opportunities to study at the world's leading universities for a few weeks or months. A wide variety of options is available to you at Tokyo Tech. The less you hesitate, the more you will experience personal development and gain the respect of your peers.

Today, your new life at Tokyo Tech begins. The enthusiasm and confidence you bring to your studies will greatly enrich your experience. Remember -- a university is not a place for you to be taught, but a place for you to proactively think and learn. With this in mind, I hope all of you soon make new friends with whom you can learn and share a fulfilling life at Tokyo Tech.

Once again, congratulations and welcome.

April 4, 2017
Yoshinao Mishima
President, Tokyo Tech