Good afternoon, everyone.
The Tokyo Tech community is pleased to welcome students, parents, family members, staff, and friends to the 2022 Spring Entrance Ceremony for master’s and doctoral program students. 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.
1,682 students entering the master's degree program, 30 students entering the professional master's degree program, and 264 students entering the doctoral degree program begin their Tokyo Tech journeys today. 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 141-year history of the Institute.
Many of you may be experiencing a range of emotions as you begin this new stage in your lives. Rest assured. From today, you are part of a diverse, inclusive, 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. These and other efforts to strike a practical balance between on and off-campus activities are being made so that you can pursue your passions starting from today.
As you begin to explore the broad range of learning paths available at the Institute, I invite you to investigate actively the areas that interest you, and to draw inspiration from the achievements of past Tokyo Tech members. The Institute has a long history of accomplishments in various fields that have been fueled by a strong desire to create lasting impact and change the world for the better. The study of ammonia synthesis and catalyst technology are good examples.
The link between Tokyo Tech and the Haber-Bosch process began to take shape over a century ago, when the rising global population sparked concerns of a looming food crisis. Fertilizers made from ammonia-derived nitrogen compounds were needed for agricultural mass production. Joining Germans Walther Nernst and Fritz Haber in the quest to synthesize ammonia was Setsuro Tamaru, a Japanese scientist who achieved in his experiments highly accurate measurements under a wide range of conditions. Tamaru would later become the first director of the Tokyo Tech Library and make significant contributions to the Institute as a degree-conferring university.
Several decades after Tamaru's work and the efforts of Carl Bosch to industrialize ammonia synthesis using an iron catalyst and high-pressure methods, Tokyo Tech researchers offered their contributions to the development of a superior catalyst. Work in the 1960s and 70s by Professor Atsumu Ozaki and his student Ken-ichi Aika resulted in the discovery of a ruthenium catalyst, which attracted attention around the world as the new ammonia synthesis catalyst.
And in the 21st century, Institute Professor Hideo Hosono and his team at Tokyo Tech's Materials Research Center for Element Strategy have gone beyond the Haber-Bosch process to develop a new catalyst that not only opens doors to more efficient ammonia synthesis, but also brings us significantly closer to sustainably produced hydrogen fuel and greener energy sources.
Progress in ammonia synthesis and catalyst research has continued for over a century among Tokyo Tech researchers. I hope that the Institute’s lasting dedication in such fields provides you — the newest members of the Tokyo Tech community — with encouragement and motivation as you begin your journeys here.
This kind of dedication to create a better future has always been at the heart of Tokyo Tech. To ensure that you have a suitable environment to create, the Institute continues to evolve in order to meet the needs of our diverse student population, for example by enhancing our facilities. Hisao and Hiroko Taki Plaza, a large international exchange hub on Ookayama Campus, opened its doors last year 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. Recent updates to both the Ookayama and Suzukakedai Libraries also ensure that students on both of these campuses have access to a stimulating 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.
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. Over forty years on, as the Institute moves into another exciting decade of action, the alumni association is also here to engage with you as you begin to expand your networks and perspectives.
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. So don't hold back. Begin your active Tokyo Tech journey from today 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 4, 2022
President, Tokyo Tech