Good morning, everyone.
The Tokyo Tech community is pleased to welcome students, parents, family members, staff, and friends to the 2020 Fall Graduation Ceremony. Before anything else, I would like to recognize the outstanding graduates of our Class of 2020. Your journeys have been challenging, and the last six months in particular have tested you in ways that none of us could have imagined. In the face of adversity, you have proven how resilient, creative, and adaptable you can be, and you have reassured me of your ability to succeed even in the most difficult of times.
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 unique individuals to us and for everything you have done to make this day possible.
Today, we celebrate the graduation of 81 students with bachelor's degrees, 247 students with master's degrees, 10 students with professional master's degrees, and 100 students with doctoral degrees. Many of you took on the additional challenge of joining Tokyo Tech from abroad. Thank you for adding another special page to the 139-year history of the Institute.
Tokyo Tech has always been about giving back and sharing knowledge through groundbreaking findings, pioneering inventions, and the diverse graduates who create an impact in the world. During these difficult times, we are reminded of the fact that we are all in this together, and that we can find inspiration in the many stories of altruism in the Institute’s past.
Let me share with you one of these stories. The story of Professors Toshio Hoshino and Tetsuo Sato. In what was then the Department of Organic Chemistry, Hoshino and Sato announced in 1954 that they had succeeded in synthesizing vitamin B2, or riboflavin, for the first time in Japan. Prior to this, vitamin B2 supplies were mostly imported as production could not meet demand. This changed when Hoshino and Sato teamed up with present-day Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma to begin mass production in 1955, contributing greatly to the improved physical standards of the Japanese people. Tokyo Tech’s Vitamin Labs, as they became to be known, attracted many outstanding young scientists and laid the foundation for future research. Professor Yoshiharu Ishido joined the labs in 1956 and pushed the boundaries in synthesis research, which the Japanese company Ajinomoto refined further to develop the antiviral agent Arasena in 1984. Since then, Arasena has been widely used as a medicine for the treatment of stomatitis and other disorders caused by the herpes virus.
The latest challenges posed by COVID-19 remind us of these past stories of hardship, and motivate us to seek new challenges and paths. They unite us to work towards a more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive world.
Recently, Tokyo Tech launched the Social Rebooting Technology Initiative to help revitalize society. The first stage of this effort was to release 131 royalty-free patents owned by the Institute for the time being.
Researchers at the Institute of Innovative Research are working on COVID-19-related testing and vaccine development, antiviral materials, future predictions, medical devices, and work style reforms under the Research Project for Overcoming Coronavirus Disasters.
And at the Laboratory for Design of Social Innovation in Global Networks, or DLab, faculty and students of Tokyo Tech are applying interdisciplinary approaches together with the public to envision and realize "the future we want." Some of the future scenarios created by DLab have begun to emerge faster than expected due to the sudden shift in our world. Despite the physical distancing, we are more united and determined than ever in creating a safer, brighter future.
You — the newest graduates of the Institute — have all contributed to these collective efforts as active members of Team Tokyo Tech. Under exceptional circumstances, you have created special bonds and friendships to overcome the toughest of academic and personal challenges. You have experienced phenomenal individual growth, but you have also made the Tokyo Tech community grow stronger and closer. As you move into the next phase of your life, I encourage you to continue practicing the creativity, versatility, and resilience you have demonstrated. I encourage you to help those around you and embrace any challenges that come your way. I encourage you to become creators of a better future! When facing adversity, think back to your Tokyo Tech friends and colleagues for inspiration, and remember 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! And, between your outstanding accomplishments and the positive impact you create, don’t forget to show your continued affection by spreading the word about Tokyo Tech, and by supporting those who come after you.
Finally, I want to draw your attention to Tokyo Tech's 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. I sincerely hope that you, as Tokyo Tech graduates, enjoy every moment of your flight. Exercise compassion, share your knowledge and expertise with those around you, and strive to make the world a better place.
Class of 2020! We are proud of your accomplishments! We are excited about your future! On behalf of the entire Tokyo Tech community, thank you, and congratulations!
September 25, 2020
President, Tokyo Tech