Good afternoon, everyone.
The Tokyo Tech community is pleased to welcome students, parents, family members, staff, and friends to the 2022 Fall Graduation Ceremony for doctoral program students. First of all, I would like to recognize the outstanding graduates completing their degrees today. The resilience, persistence, and passion demonstrated by each one of you is truly admirable, and we celebrate together the culmination of your efforts. I want you to take pride in being members of Tokyo Tech's tenacious Class of 2022.
To the families, friends, and loved ones who have tirelessly offered their comfort and support: Thank you, on behalf of everyone at Tokyo Tech, for entrusting these individuals to us and for everything you have done to make this day possible.
On this special day, 104 students graduate from Tokyo Tech with doctoral degrees. Graduates: The last two and a half years in particular have tested you with doubts, fears, and complications that could have led you astray. You did not, however, let that happen. You remained firmly on your path, sought new ways forward, and emerged stronger on the other side. I am delighted to be able to present each of you with your diplomas today, but first, allow me to congratulate you, and thank you for adding another special page to the 141-year history of the Institute.
As the COVID-19 pandemic and other global concerns continue to alter our lives, I feel a strong sense of hope as I look at the talent and potential in front of me. Despite the relentless change that the world is experiencing, you have all shown not only a desire to master the fundamentals that are required to create positive impact, but also an ability to adapt during incredibly testing times. I am confident that these attributes — your determination and flexibility to identify issues, create solutions, and yet always remain open to new alternatives — will continue to take you further down the path of success.
And yet, because of these characteristics, you will undoubtedly encounter adversity in the future. When faced with seemingly impossible obstacles, think back to your time at Tokyo Tech, and about the friends and mentors who inspired you here. Perhaps it was a fellow student who pushed you through a particularly difficult challenge. Or maybe you discovered renewed motivation in the words of a professor who guided you. While we all have our personal sources of inspiration, today I would like to share the stories of two fellow Tokyo Tech community members, stories which you can all utilize as added stimulus on your next adventure.
The first of these is about Honorary Professor Yasuharu Suematsu, who was Tokyo Tech president from 1989 to 1993. Approximately thirty years before his presidency, Suematsu and his Tokyo Tech students held the world's first demonstration of fiber-optic communication. Nine years later, Suematsu proposed a single-mode diode laser as a possible light source for high-speed fiber communication, which came to be known as the Dynamic Single Mode Laser. He pioneered with his students the semiconductor laser material at the minimal loss band in 1979, and achieved the first single-mode laser at this band the following year, which resulted in stable operation even under environmental disturbances. This achievement greatly advanced ultra-high-speed and long-distance optical fiber communications.
Another former Tokyo Tech president, Professor Emeritus Kenichi Iga, led Tokyo Tech from 2007 to 2012. Iga first thought of the idea for the surface emitting laser in 1977. Roughly a decade later, he and his students were the first in the world to achieve continuous wave operation at room temperature for this class of laser. As a result, the Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser, or VCSEL, was born. VCSELs can be arranged in a two-dimensional array and the individual lasers can be operated independently or in concert without the need for separate laser chips. They can be just a few microns in size, require very small driving power even at high speeds, and are now used widely in laser printers, optical mice, and the smartphones in your pockets.
In short, the vision, determination, and creativity of these two Tokyo Tech pioneers contributed significantly to the world of availability and convenience that we take for granted today. I encourage you to draw inspiration from these and other Tokyo Tech trailblazers as you seek new ways to create and innovate.
And of course, if you want to continue to create the future with Tokyo Tech, the Laboratory for Design of Social Innovation in Global Networks, or DLab, is a platform that unites the Institute with the public to create a more desirable future together. Some of you may have already participated in DLab's activities during your time at Tokyo Tech. Whatever path you choose from here, whether you progress to further studies or transition to work life, DLab continues to welcome your innovative ideas to make the world a better place.
Today marks the successful end of one stage in your lives, and the beginning of a new one. A certain fact, however, remains unchanged. You are all lifelong members of the Tokyo Tech community, a community which continues to grow stronger and closer with every passing year. Do not forget that the Institute and the Tokyo Tech Alumni Association, or Kuramae Kogyokai, are always here to engage with you. Reach out to us when you can! Join the Tokyo Tech Online Community and let us continue to communicate and share our achievements and the impact we create. And, don't forget to spread the word about Tokyo Tech and support those who come after you.
Finally, I want to draw your attention to 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 entered this window seeking knowledge, guidance, motivation, and excitement. Today, you are standing at this same window, facing the world, ready to take flight.
Class of 2022: Continue to practice resilience, persistence, and passion. Continue to learn and adapt while creating a better, brighter future!
Class of 2022: Congratulations!
September 22, 2022
President, Tokyo Tech