• The 49th Soka University/37th Soka Women’s College Commencement Ceremony


The 49th Soka University/37th Soka Women’s College Commencement Ceremony

    On March 18 (Saturday), the 49th Soka University Graduation Ceremony and the 37th Soka Women’s College Graduation Ceremony were held, respectively, at the Ikeda Auditorium and the Central Education Discovery Hall. The ceremony was attended by Vice-Chancellor Prof. James Tooley of the University of Buckingham, United Kingdom, who also congratulated the graduating students.

    At the ceremony, the President of Soka Women’s College Mr. Noboru Mizumoto shared his opening words, followed by a message from the founder read by the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees Mr. Yasunori Tashiro. Then, the conferral of degrees took place. A doctorate degree was given to eight doctoral students, juris doctor degrees to 13 students completing law school, master’s degrees to 91 students completing the master’s program, professional graduate school degrees to 16 students completing professional graduate school, bachelor’s degrees to 1,495 undergraduates and 459 correspondence course graduates, and associate degrees to 129 Soka Women’s College graduates. In addition, 16 students received a completion certificate from the Soka University preparatory Japanese Language course, and a bachelor’s degree from the U.K.’s Buckingham University was given to one student completing the English Double Degree Course.

    This was followed by conferrals of awards from prominent institutions overseas.
    〇India Soka Ikeda Women’s College World Friendship Award: Ms. Haruna Nasuno (Faculty of Economics) and Ms. Haruka Iseki (Soka Women’s College)
    〇India Soka Ikeda Women’s College, Honorary Principal Mrs. Kaneko Ikeda Award:
    Rie Furukoshi (Soka Women’s College)
    〇Mahatma Gandhi Youth Peace Award: Mr. Takumi Otsuka (Faculty of Science and Engineering) and Ms. Mika Ishikawa (Faculty of International Liberal Arts)
    〇the Lu Xun Youth Literature Award from China’s Shanghai Lu Xun Development Center: Mr. Koichi Kushida (Faculty of Business Administration) and Ms. Naoko Horiguchi (Faculty of Letters)
    Also, the Soka University Contribution Award was presented to 18 students, the Soka University Sports Contribution Award was presented to 8 Ekiden Relay Race Team members and 1 Baseball club member, the Artist Award was given to Soka University Pioneer Wind Orchestra and the “Founder’s Award” was given to Soka University’s Mr. Taro Yoshii (Faculty of Law), Ms. Hikaru Yamashita (Faculty of Nursing), and Ms. Miki Ishimura (Soka Women’s College).

    After a statement of determination was shared by a graduating student, President Masashi Suzuki spoke as follows: “I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the graduates, their parents and guardians, donors, faculty and staff, and everyone participating today. In particular, we were able to invite parents and guardians to the venue in person for the first time in several years. Whether in Japan or abroad, there is no doubt that the society you are entering will face situations that are not the norm and are unexpected. Yet, I am confident that all of you who have overcome unprecedented hardships and graduated from Soka University will surely respond to and overcome the challenges of any ordeal, just as our founder said. I sincerely hope that each and every one of you will become global citizens that can create value, which is the goal of the Grand Design Initiative of Soka University.”

    This was followed by congratulatory words from Prof. Tooley who quoted three passages from Mahatma Gandhi. “Gandhi had some profound things to say which are of relevance to you here today as you graduate: Famously, he told us to “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” I interpret this as meaning that we must change ourselves before we attempt to change the world. But by doing so, we can change the world. On the problems facing humanity, so relevant as we see problems around the world today, he said: “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.”And reflecting on the most difficult challenge of all, he said, “Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love.” In that way, peace will win over.”

    On this day, Soka University’s title of “professor emeritus” was conferred upon Mr. Yoshihisa Baba, Mr. Kiyotaka Maeda, Mr. Tsuneyuki Hanami, Mr. Ryuichi Asayama, Mr. Tadayoshi Ishihara, Mr. Hiroshi Kanno, Mr. Seiji Sasaki, Ms. Izumi Kubo, Mr. Naoya Torii, and Mr. Hideaki Ishii. After, the Soka University Award of Honor was presented to Mr. Kazutaka Enoki, Head Coach of the Soka University Ekiden Relay Race Team, and Mr. Yasuhide Ito, Conductor of the Pioneer Wind Orchestra. Also, the Soka University Schliemann Award, which honors those who showed outstanding achievements in learning languages, as well as the Soka University Da Vinci Award, was presented to students and groups that showed great results in academics.

    In his message, Soka University founder Mr. Daisaku Ikeda shared the following encouragement:
    “Heaven's applause and the blessings of the earth surely await the lives of the righteous young men and women who are valiantly climbing the slope of adversity. You, my beloved students, have gritted your teeth, encouraged each other and your fellow students, and ran through the path of exploration and refinement, despite the multiple restrictions and inconveniences imposed on you by the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors. As if to send off each and every one of you with praise, the cherry blossoms on campus have also begun to bloom in due time. As you leave this university of peace, full of internationality, diversity, originality, and humanity, I hope that you will shine like the rising sun, breaking through the darkness of division and conflict to create values that are wise, vibrant, sincere, and strong. I hope that you will open up a broad path where hope and trust can bloom in every direction, cheerfully and with the spirit of defeat.”

    After the ceremony, all the graduating students sang the song, Mother, to express their appreciation to their parents and guardians.