A Message from the President on the occasion of the 2021 Academic Year Degree Conferral Ceremony of the Kyoto Institute of Technology


Undergraduate School of Science and Technology
Degree Conferral Ceremony for the 2021 Academic Year

 Congratulations to all of you who are graduating today from the School of Science and Technology of Kyoto Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Engineering or Bachelor of Agriculture degree. On behalf of Kyoto Institute of Technology, I extend my heartfelt appreciation for your diligence in pursuing and completing your degree.
 I am certain that these last two years of your undergraduate student life have been far from what you dreamed of before you began your studies. Worldwide, novel coronavirus infection has forced people to make unexpected changes in their lives. You may have thought that your days at university would take place as usual with classes, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, and conversations with classmates and other students. However, this serious unpredictable invisible virus has disrupted daily routines and expectations. As president of the university and as a person who knows well the importance of the various experiences one can have during university life, I regret that I have had to ask you to restrict your behavior in various ways during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 However, please consider the time we have lived through this pandemic from a slightly different angle. Over the past two years, the use of online communication has become more common. We now routinely hold meetings online, and face-to-face meetings are rare. Telework is also becoming an established way of working.
 The KIT response to novel coronavirus spread was quick. Two years ago, in the spring of 2020, we prepared to switch to on-demand classes to deliver content and to use the internet for almost all classes, including for experiments and practical training, in the first semester. We switched to interactive classes in the second semester. Some face-to-face classes resumed, and Hy-flex classes, in which face-to-face classes and online classes are delivered simultaneously, took place along with online classes. For the academic year that has just concluded, in principle, we decided to conduct face-to-face classes, but waves of infection repeatedly hit. As a result, Hy-flex and online classes became the most common modes. This will continue as we take advantage of the benefits and eliminate the disadvantages of this type of learning communication. Online classes will continue to be one of the most popular class formats in the future. You have undoubtedly become the first generation to spend your college years immersed in the online world to this extent.

 I would now like to share with you what is being said about the state of online education: With the advent of online education, Japan is now changing from a course-based, to a mastery-based system. In a course-based system, we expect students to complete a prescribed course of study within a certain number of years, while in a mastery-based system we expected them to achieve a certain level of content mastery. As an engineering-oriented university, we claim to nurture highly specialized engineers, and I believe that you are here at today ‘s degree conferment ceremony precisely because you, as Tech Leaders, have mastered the content of your courses.

 In the future, as you face a variety of projects, in your work and research, you must establish a path to your goal, through research, learning and a study of the issues; to accurately comprehend a project, untangle and resolve barriers to achieving its goals. You may work alone on a project, or you may work in a team. The professional skills, social experience, and personal growth that you have gained through our educational program over the past four years will all help you to develop your life when you enter the workforce.
 Globalization and diversity are increasingly influential in Japan and there is a growing interest here in a shift from the traditional Japanese employment system with so-called “lifetime employment” to one emphasizing the more specialized “task-based employment” common to Western countries. In addition, the rapid increase in working remotely, brought on by the pandemic, has created an environment that allows companies to hire talented people regardless of their location. In today’s rapidly changing environment, I believe that the nature of employment will continue to change. To survive in this era of unprecedented change, I hope that all of you will remain aware of the importance of “mastery.”

 Many of you who graduate today will continue on to graduate school where you will be engaged in cutting-edge research in your respective major, or in even deeper exploration than before. Our graduate school offers a program called dCEP, for example, in which students work on cross-disciplinary projects. At the end of February when we observed dCEP participants presenting their work, we were able to observe firsthand, how they had indeed developed into Tech Leaders. We strongly encourage new KIT graduate program students to consider taking on the challenge of interdisciplinary work in a program like this.

 While novel coronavirus infection has presented us with many challenges that have overturned conventional concepts, it has also provided us with an opportunity to change our point of view. I hope that all of you will continue to examine the way you live and work, not only now, but throughout your lives. I congratulate you on your professional expertise in the fields of engineering, science, and technology. As you go out into the world, I hope that you will take pride in being a Tech Leader and make meaningful contributions to science, industry, and culture. I wish you the best of luck. I am rooting for you!

Dr. Kiyotaka Morisako,
President, Kyoto Institute of Technology
March 25, 2022


Graduate School of Science and Technology Master’s
Degree Conferral Ceremony for the 2021 Academic Year

 I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of you who have completed the Master’s Program of the Graduate School of Science and Technology at Kyoto Institute of Technology, and are receiving your master’s degree today. On behalf of Kyoto Institute of Technology, I commend you for your hard work and extend to you my heartfelt congratulations. Since the establishment of the Graduate School of Science and Technology in 1988, Kyoto Institute of Technology has conferred 11,524 master’s degrees. Today, I am pleased to announce the conferral of the 11,525th through 12,000th master’s degrees.

 Those of you who were unable to make the admission ceremony pledge due to the new coronavirus infection may not have expected to spend the entire two years of your graduate school life dodging a novel coronavirus. Those of you who planned to study abroad may not have been able to accomplish that, while others of you may have had trouble with your studies and research due to the pandemic. As president of the university, I regret having had to ask you to restrict your activities many times to mitigate the spread of viral infection, a formidable enemy of the human race.
 Despite these circumstances, you persevered with your studies and your master’s thesis or master’s project. I would like to express my sincere admiration for the cumulative efforts you have made leading up to your attending today’s award ceremony. Unfortunately, today we have had to deny ceremony access to family, well-wishers and supervising faculty members. As president, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who has guided and supported you. I ask that you convey my appreciation and best wishes to them, too.

 In the course of Japan’s modernization, which began with the Meiji Restoration in 1868, our university has produced engineers who support industries that change in response to the circumstances of our country and the times. I am sure that you are all aware that our university has set a goal to nurture highly specialized engineers, and that we call them, ‘Tech Leaders.’ Tech Leaders are people who can successfully lead projects that address various social issues by exercising leadership in global settings based on their knowledge and skills in their field of expertise. I wonder if you are aware that our Tech Leader Development Program has been using Design Thinking as a means to achieve this goal.
 Design thinking, advocated by an interdisciplinary education program at Stanford University’s design school, or “d. school,” in 2005, is a method of creating new services by observing and deeply understanding the needs of users, correctly defining issues, creating prototypes, and quickly repeating the cycle of trial and error. When ‘users’ are ‘society and industry,’ and services are defined as solutions to problems, products, and systems, this method is also applicable to engineering research. Those of you who have taken a dCEP (Design Centric Engineering Program) course have experienced this directly. Design thinking is an effective way to think about projects with a time horizon of 10 years or so. Recently, however, the university has accepted the challenge of developing a cross-disciplinary research and discussion forum that also incorporates a longer time horizon, 30 to 50 years in the future.
 This is known as ‘science fiction (SF) thinking.’ It has been gaining traction as a way of thinking about business and our future. In order to think this far into the future, it is necessary to envision society as a whole, going beyond the limits of your specialized field and in a broader sense including related fields. The university is counting on the projects and activities that have developed out of science fiction thinking to lead to new directions in research and publically useful developments.

 As you have completed your program of study and are receiving your master’s degree today, you are a qualified Tech Leader. We look forward to the brighter future that will come thanks to the inputs of your Tech Leader awareness and perspectives. The design thinking and science fiction thinking our university is advocating should prove useful in the projects you will face. I ask that now and then, in your future, you make time to investigate what is happening at KIT.

 Again, I congratulate you and wish you all the very best in your contributions to science, industry, and culture around the world.

Dr. Kiyotaka Morisako,
President, Kyoto Institute of Technology
March 25, 2022


Graduate School of Science and Technology Doctoral
Degree Conferral Ceremony for the 2021 Academic Year

 Today marks the occasion of your Graduate School of Science and Technology doctoral program completion at Kyoto Institute of Technology. I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you who are receiving a doctoral degree in either Science or Engineering. On behalf of Kyoto Institute of Technology, I would also like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to you for your persistence and diligence.
 The novel coronavirus infection that began in 2019 spread and waged a virulent global invasion, the majority of us have now been vaccinated and therapeutic agents have been approved, but the virus continues to mutate, and infection rates have still not subsided. To limit the number of attendees again this year, unfortunately, we have had to ask your families, friends, well-wishers, and the faculty members who guided and supervised you not to attend today’s ceremony. As university president, I would like to ask you to relay my best regards and gratitude to them for their invaluable support. To keep today’s ceremony as short as possible, we will hand over your degrees to a representative from each department. Thank you for your understanding.

 Today, we are conferring the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy 1024 through 1052 for completion of a course of study and the defense of a final project or dissertation; as well as the degrees Doctor of Philosophy 209 and 210, awarded for a dissertation. These dissertations will be added to the KIT repository of intellectual property where they will be available to the public. It is expected that your juniors will build on your dissertation research in your respective fields, and that it will be used for future technological innovation and the creation of new industries. The fruits of your endeavors will further science and culture to the benefit of all. I would like to extend my heartfelt compliments to all of you for your persistent efforts in conducting research and compiling your papers at a time when the global spread of novel coronavirus infection has compounded the difficulty of these pursuits.

 It has been more than 120 years since the establishment of our predecessor institutions, the Kyoto College of Textile Fibers, and Kyoto College of Technology, and 75 years since the establishment of KIT as a national university. Last year, in light of recent changes and in consideration of the future of Japan and of the world, we reviewed and discussed our university’s keywords, revising them this year. As you are aware, at KIT we practice “KYOTO Thinking.” We coined this catchphrase to shed light on our university’s characteristic approach to issues. Publicity on KIT builds on this further, using the keywords: ART x SCIENCE, LOCAL x GLOBAL, and TRADITION x INNOVATION to communicate our strengths through various media. As academics and researchers at KIT, you have firsthand experience of these approaches.

 Under these foundational principals, we have been preparing to take on the challenge of major new developments. In fact, in light of the future global and Japanese situation, we intend a paradigm shift in the very structures of higher professional engineering education, which have gone unchanged since the Meiji era.

 In April of this year, we will establish the Mirai dezain kōgaku kikō. Its English name will be the Center for Possible Futures, or CpF, for short. At this organization, we will begin with activities that inquire into, what is being asked of universities today and what needs to be done. We will draw up a vision of a sustainable future society, typified by a circular economy, from many human-centered perspectives. A number of KIT faculty members have already contributed to interdisciplinary discussions around this and have contributed to narrowing the focus of this undertaking. The next steps will involve research into specific themes and the subsequent extraction of potential issues from which new research will be undertaken. We intend this research initiative to go beyond the existing concept of specialized research. Our university will boldly venture into new territory accepting new challenges, conducting research and making a public contribution utilizing the findings of that research, while at the same time nurturing human resources who will lead us to a brighter future, through the research process.

 As you depart today, degree in hand, I know you are well aware that learning and thinking are not bound by place or time. In your respective locations, I hope that you will not simply work on problems to be solved or tasks assigned by others, but that you will always be aware of what is being asked of you as a person with a doctoral degree and of what you should do from that vantage point. Be proactive wherever you are in the world, because this is what will help us realize a positive future.

 I have a request. Now and then, throughout your career, please make time to look in on KIT. We will be looking forward to your feedback and cooperation.

 Finally, I would like to conclude this commencement address by wishing you great success in your future contributions to science, industry, and culture around the world.

Dr. Kiyotaka Morisako,
President, Kyoto Institute of Technology
March 25, 2022