A joint SILS and GSICCS Graduation Ceremony was held on Tuesday, March 26th, 2019.
To celebrate the beginning of a new adventure, Senior Dean, Professor Taisaku IKESHIMA, addressed the 462 graduates.
Congratulations on graduating from the School of International Liberal Studies (SILS) at Waseda University.
A graduation ceremony is often called a commencement in the United States. The term signifies that this is the beginning of a new stage in your life and the start of your real career. You must stand on your own two feet, enjoy your freedom, and take full responsibility for your actions.
Before you depart today, I would like to take this opportunity to ask you some questions. Everyone, please close your eyes for a moment. If you can answer ‘yes’ to any of the following questions, please raise your hand. But please don’t look at anyone else’s responses. (Raise both hands if you very much agree with my questions.)
Question 1. Did you make good friends?
Question 2. Did you study very hard?
Question 3. Did you also participate in and enjoy extracurricular activities?
Question 4. Are you sure that you always did your best?
Question 5. Are you proud of having studied liberal arts at SILS?
Question 6. Have you achieved any of the original aims that you must have had before you entered SILS?
Question 7. Are you happy or relieved because you are graduating, or both?
Question 8. Are you grateful to the people who supported your studies, particularly, your parents (and your professors)?
Question 9. Do you look forward to your future after graduation?
And, finally, my last but most important question to everyone here,
Question 10. All in all, do you like SILS?
The request I make of you for your future today is this: please lead your life so that, in retrospect, you find your SILS days as certainly some of the best moments of your whole life.
You must be confident about what you have done at SILS, thanking everyone who supported you during your studies. You should be proud of who you are and step out into the real world. You have already trained extensively yourself, by completing our liberal arts programme.
Students often ask the question: ‘What is the use of this (subject)?’ Usefulness does not guarantee the essence of things, however. As history shows, what is useful (practical) at one time tends to become useless (impractical) soon enough. Technology is a good example.
What about artificial intelligence (AI)? Do you think that it will replace us and take our jobs? Or will we overcome the rise of any new technology? We human beings may, from time to time, be overly concerned about the unforeseeable future.
If this is so, what, then, is the use of the classics? Classics will remain with us as long as human beings exist. That’s what they are for. Whether in the East or the West, we will certainly continue to need Homer’s epics, the Four Books and Five Classics of Confucianism, Shakespeare’s dramas, and Descartes’ philosophy, among others.
Let me quote you a very interesting passage from a book titled The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World, which was written by Scott Hartley and published in 2017. The person who spoke at the author’s graduation was Steve Jobs, who made a legendary speech, ‘Stay hungry. Stay foolish’.
According to Hartley, Jobs also once mentioned how important the humanities and social sciences are to creating great products, stating that ‘technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing’ (p. 7).
You likely do not know when what you acquired at SILS will become useful. I do hope, though, that what you learned here will bear fruit for you in the long run, no matter how many years lapse. And this is, in my opinion, the effect of receiving an education at a university.
In former days, the average human lifespan was said to be about 50 years. Nowadays, a lifespan can exceed 100 years. Given this, you have to consider that less than a quarter of your life has passed. A much longer period of time lies ahead of you.
You can now freely exercise your abilities in any way you choose. Your future will be based on what inspired you at SILS. You can be creative and make your own way, by making your effort. You are expected to make a meaningful contribution to society. So, what will your contribution be? Please confidently look ahead to the future.
Finally, I would like to again celebrate this occasion by offering my congratulations to all of you and your families. On behalf of the faculty, I wish you good luck and all the best for a healthy and prosperous life.
Thank you for listening.
We would like to wish all our graduates the very best in their future endeavors.