Good morning, everyone.
The Tokyo Tech community is pleased to welcome students, parents, family members, staff, and friends to the 2021 Spring Entrance Ceremony. We are here to celebrate all the new students joining us today. You have worked hard to come this far under difficult circumstances, and you should be proud of your achievements. Let us also acknowledge your guardians and families, and express our gratitude for the time and effort they have dedicated to your lives.
One thousand one hundred twenty students begin their Tokyo Tech journeys today. In addition to our new 1st-year students, we have 31 transfer students from technical colleges joining the 2nd or 3rd year of the bachelor's program. We also welcome 14 students entering the Global Scientists and Engineers Program, or GSEP. One thousand six hundred eighteen students start their master's programs, 35 students begin their professional master's programs, and 247 students commence their doctoral programs today. In total, 288 of you have joined us from abroad. I am sure all of you have been waiting eagerly for this day to come, and finally, it is here. Congratulations, and thank you for adding another special page to the 140-year history of the Institute.
Many of you may be experiencing enthusiasm and a range of other emotions as you begin this new stage in your lives. Rest assured. From today, you are part of a diverse, inclusive, and supportive community, and despite the physical distance required of us, we are all strongly connected. Tokyo Tech has prepared an effective learning and research environment that prioritizes wellbeing during this new normal we are experiencing. Our student-centered online platform is operating smoothly and is being developed continuously. Research facilities are used only while adhering to comprehensive safety regulations. Welcome counseling services for new bachelor's program students are in place to ensure that no one is left behind. These and other efforts to strike a practical balance between on and off-campus activities are being made so that you — the newest members of the Tokyo Tech community — can pursue your passions starting from today.
Diversity, inclusion, and support for one another have always been at the heart of Tokyo Tech. Seiichi Tejima, one of our founding fathers, dedicated his life to cutting-edge technical education, innovation, and the establishment of Tokyo Tech as the hub of this innovation. During the 25 years that he served as principal of Tokyo Tech’s predecessors, he greatly emphasized not only theory and practice of technology, but also education for women, international students, and those with disabilities. These brave efforts by Tejima and those who came after him laid strong, lasting roots for the Tokyo Tech that you are joining today.
In light of the current circumstances, I strongly feel that the convictions on which the Institute was founded are more important than ever. Recent developments at Tokyo Tech reflect this. Hisao and Hiroko Taki Plaza, a large international exchange hub, was completed this year on Ookayama Campus to further diversity and inclusion in our community. I invite you to make use of this facility, donated to us by one of our alumni. On Suzukakedai Campus, the renovation of the library facilities is nearing completion, offering students based there an improved learning environment.
In addition to these campus improvements, the Laboratory for Design of Social Innovation in Global Networks, or DLab, offers a platform that connects the students, faculty, and staff of Tokyo Tech with the public to create a better future. DLab, which aims to go beyond the conventional reach of science and technology, welcomes all new students to join their activities, and to create and innovate as Team Tokyo Tech.
And, as you begin your studies here, don't forget to take in the beauty, tranquility, and history of our campuses. The mature cherry blossom trees on Ookayama Campus were donated and planted here over 70 years ago by those who took the Tokyo Tech journey before you. When in full bloom, the sakura on Suzukakedai Campus are also a magnificent sight. Savor these aged trees, and watch the recently planted saplings grow as you develop as human beings.
Whatever you decide to do during your time here, you can be certain of two things: Firstly, that the Institute will provide you with challenges and opportunities to create openly. And secondly, that the dedicated faculty, staff, and students of Tokyo Tech are here to support you.
I want to draw your attention to the centennial flags and the Tokyo Tech Seal behind me. These flags on my left and right were presented to the Institute by the Tokyo Tech Alumni Association, or Kuramae Kogyokai, to commemorate Tokyo Tech's 100th anniversary. One represents the search for truth and reason, the other signifies advancement of technology. Forty years on, as the Institute kicks off another exciting decade of action, the alumni association is also here to support you. We encourage you to begin creating fruitful connections during your time at the Institute.
All the challenges and opportunities that you will face in the next several years are encapsulated in the Tokyo Tech Seal, the swallow by the window. This seal symbolizes the Institute as a hub of technical innovation from which the windows of the world open up to its members. You are now peering in this window, perhaps seeking new experiences, knowledge, and guidance. I am confident that we will provide these to you. Don't hold back. Jump right in, grab the bull by the horns, and take full advantage of what the Institute has to offer.
New students of Tokyo Tech: I encourage you to embrace any challenges that come your way. I encourage you to become creators of a better future!
Once again, congratulations.
April 5, 2021
President, Tokyo Tech