Entrance Ceremony April 2018
2018 entrance ceremony for undergraduate students was held on April 9, 2018 at Tokyo International Forum and the entrance ceremony for students of Graduate Programs and Course of Midwifery was held on April 2 on the Yotsuya Campus.
This spring we welcomed 3,306 new students (2,790 undergraduate students, 506 graduate students and 10 students of Course of Midwifery). On the afternoon of April 9, the Entrance day Thanksgiving Mass was held at the main cathedral of St. Ignatius Church.
Remarks to New Undergraduate Students by President
I would like to first congratulate all the new students of Sophia University today. And congratulations to the parents and all the other supporters gathered here today.
Society continues to change in many ways. This is probably the defining feature of globalization, but as digitalization gathers pace, this is also having a major impact on society. Today, these two concurrent factors are changing our society. You might say that humanity is facing change of a type never experienced before. This is not a gentle change. No, this is more like a dramatic “revolution”.
Amid this social change, how should we humans and in particular the young generations grow? Why do we need to ask such a question? Because we can predict that this social change is also going to result in changes to ethics and values. And nobody knows what changes will come. It may be that changing social systems, industrial structures and the nature of work will create new ethics and values. If we are embarking on a process without heed to these, it may result in grave consequences for the progress of humanity and our survival. Indeed, the forging of a new society and a new era requires grit, mettle and a calm view of the future.
So, what does it mean to lead a good life in a society of changing morality? How are we to find the answer to this question? I think it is by finding your own convictions and beliefs – a moral compass. Globalization is also leading to chaos and confusion. While there are high hopes for AI, IoT and Big Data on the one hand, on the other, they are stoking concerns about the utility of human beings. Nobody can predict how these changes will play out. Some call this “the uncertainty society”, but I disagree. There never was a “certainty society”. If there had ever been a certainty society, in the history of the human race, why are we facing environmental and poverty issues today? Social transformation can come at any time. We are in the midst of social change now, and if that is the case, it is an opportunity for serious progress in human society. However, this progress must be based on proper ethics and values based on justice.
In dealing with a social landscape like this one, it is vital to have your own moral compass. That said, how can we cultivate and maintain such a compass? The answer is through learning that is deep, broad and creativity-nurturing. Now, there is an important point about studying at a university. There is a difference between information and knowledge on the one hand, and learning on the other. Learning is not just something you can keep in storage, and it is not just something that you can get through by some means or other. Learning is the fount of adaptability and creativity. More than anything, learning generates a moral compass, refines it, and maintains it.
Sophia University consists of nine faculties and 29 departments. Each department and each faculty has its own expertise. This is not knowledge organization but experience of the process of finding challenges and solving them, then putting that expertise to use in the real world. This expertise affords credibility in the global arena. Why does this thinking apply here? How did we draw that conclusion? Engaging in these debates forms your background. Meanwhile, arguments and reasoning backed by deep learning are an expression of a person’s convictions and beliefs. The way a person views society, their morality and the values they live by are all based on their convictions and beliefs. As such, you might say that the defining feature of Sophia University is that it provides an education that combines expertise and learning. Try to combine organically the expertise and learning you are seeking. You need the learning that comes from experiences. In tomorrow’s world, everyone will be expected to have the basic ability to analyse and observe society.
Earlier the Director of the Catholic Center graced us with a passage from the Holy Bible, taken from the Gospel of St. Matthew, about the process of how small opportunities given to us, are nurtured by patience and can lead us onto the right path for life(*). The way a small seed slowly grows, eventually leading to a better world and a better life – this is exactly how we grow as humans. The cultivation of learning also means deepening your knowledge of humanity and how you might contribute to society.
We wish you all a warm welcome. Together, let us survey society and discuss humanity and society, and think about the role we can play. I hope that you will find a rich and deep sense of humanity, learn adaptability, foster deep expertise and always dedicate yourself to others, and grow as people who will work alongside others. Once again allow me to extend my congratulations on this auspicious day.
April 9, 2018
(*)The Gospel according to Matthew 13:3-9
Jesus used parables to tell many things.
"Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil was not deep. But when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up. Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants. But some seed fell in good soil, and the plants bore grain: some had one hundred grains, others sixty, and others thirty."
And Jesus concluded, "Listen, then, if you have ears!"