Ceremonial Address for the AY 2020 Autumu Graduate School of Science and Technology Degree Award Ceremony

Congratulations to all of you who have obtained a master’s degree or doctoral degree today. On behalf of Kyoto Institute of Technology, I recognize your hard work and determination. In addition, in order to limit the spread of novel coronavirus infection, many family members, well-wishers, and faculty members who guided and instructed you over the course of your research, are unfortunately, not in attendance today. I would like to ask that you relay my heartfelt congratulations to them, as well, for their effective assistance of you all. On behalf of Kyoto Institute of Technology, I would like to express my gratitude for their support and cooperation.

The University established the Graduate School of Science and Technology doctoral program in 1988, and has awarded 11,004 master’s degrees and 969 doctoral degrees since that time. Today, we have awarded master’s degrees number 11005 to 11017 and doctoral degrees 970 to 979. We expect to see your new research results utilized for further developments in each of your fields, as well as for technological innovation and industrial creation. Your work will also be useful as an example of the high standard we expect students who follow you, to meet.

I think this year’s novel COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on your research. You may have been forced to change your research plans, because some of the experiments you designed or surveys you hoped to conduct were no longer possible. I would like to express my deepest respect for the efforts of each of you who has compiled a doctoral dissertation or a master’s thesis under these circumstances.

This epidemic has reminded us of the importance of the challenge of human infectious diseases. In fact, infectious disease control is listed among the targets of the SDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted at the United Nations Summit in September 2015, which are to be achieved by 2030. Insufficient medical measures and backup for addressing the novel coronavirus have posed various challenges to humankind and society as a whole that we had not imagined. Countering this infection and its effects have shown us ways in which society, economic activity and our lifestyles need to change. We are more aware than ever before, of issues that need to be addressed. I would like to take this opportunity to examine what I was taking for granted, consider it carefully, and make intelligent choices that enable me to move in a better direction.

You have completed a course of study of our Graduate School of Science and Technology and have qualified for a degree. All of you who have a KIT doctoral or master’s degree will be able to solve new problems that face humankind, the earth, society, and industry, and various problems that have not yet been solved, regardless of the challenges of the novel coronavirus. It is important to anticipate targets and goals and consider the key issues that must be overcome for that purpose. In addition, think carefully about what steps must be taken, the process needed, and think about how you can apply your knowledge and strengths in your area of expertise. What can be accomplished if you cooperate with researchers and engineers in other fields. I think envisioning this is meaningful, even if it is not concretely implemented. Also, thinking about what you can contribute from the perspective of your field of expertise may be useful in planning your own research someday. Or it may become the seed of a future contribution to humankind.
As an expert in your field and a highly specialized, degree-holding engineer and “Tech Leader” from KIT, I would like you to proactively engage with issues. Do not “wait and watch,” to see what others will do. Be decisive in creating solutions, yourself.

It goes without saying that the content and achievements of your dissertation are important. More importantly, however, you have acquired the ability to plan and conduct research through experimentation, surveys, and the disciplined writing that you conducted when compiling your dissertation. I ask, today, that you retain an awareness of this in your life. Being a doctoral or a master’s student was not the goal, but the first time you utilized a power that you can now harness and put to effective use in the world.

In the hopes that you will make full use of the strengths and skills you have obtained to contribute greatly to the future of science, industry, and culture, once more, I congratulate you on the completion of your degree.

Dr. Kiyotaka Morisako,
President, Kyoto Institute of Technology
September 24, 2020