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Message from the Dean

2013 Commencement of the Department of Medical Genome Sciences

2013-03-25

To all attending today as we confer degrees for successful completion of studies in the Department of Medical Genome Sciences of the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, I offer my heartfelt congratulations. At the same time, I also offer my sincere congratulations to all those in the families who have warmly watched over and supported you.

Today for all of you this event marks one more milestone in your lives, and at the same time, a new door opens. New doors will open one after another, and with each new opening you must learn something new, so that your life could be said to be a series of studies. Not long ago as I was reading a book on the US president, the following memorable quote by American singer and actress Eartha Kitt came up: "I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma." There also is a Judaic saying that "learning is a life-long job." If we compare life to a full marathon, the most important thing is to continue even though we sometimes stumble or get overtaken by somebody behind us. I would like all of you to complete your marathon of life accepting every challenge.
As you're all aware, on March 11 we marked the two-year anniversary of The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. We deeply regret the terrible loss of so many noble lives. Furthermore, we express our sympathy for the many who suffered through the disaster, and even now continue to face severe living conditions. The University of Tokyo is doing what it can as an academic organization to contribute to the reconstruction of the disaster zone as well as the support of those hit by the earthquake. Our institute also is conducting a support project for scientists who suffered from the Great East Japan Earthquake by accepting joint research with them. No matter how little, through biomedical research, teaching and medical care, we too are participating continuously in this recovery; united as an institute, we plan to continue contributing both directly and indirectly. Confronted with this sort of historical national ordeal, these times demand that the Japanese people, one-by-one, come up with various ways to rebuild Japan, boldly accepting the challenges we face. As you will be the central force of Japan's biomedical science research, it will be great if you can contribute your utmost to Japan's continuous growth by showing the "Spirit of the Scientist" in the field of your specialty. I believe that this will also contribute directly and indirectly to Japan's recovery.
As you know, last year, 2012, was the 120th anniversary of the founding of the Institute for Infectious Disease, the forerunner of IMSUT, by Dr. Shibasaburo Kitasato. In addition, it was the 45th anniversary of the reorganization and renaming of our institute to IMSUT by our wonderful, far-sighted predecessors. However, we don't wish just to look back on our history and celebrate it; rather we should consider all of this as only an incubation period and launching pad for greater historical achievements and continuous growth to come while respecting our tradition, and try to establish a new organization and system to become the kind of next generation of international-standard, internationally attractive and cutting edge medical science research institute. We promote this reorganization heading toward 2017, which will coincide with the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Institute for Infectious Disease and the 50th anniversary of the reorganization of our institute. This undertaking is called the "IMSUT One to Gogo (125/50) project" as I have been expounding at every opportunity. We are called on to work together unceasingly as IMSUT family members to advance our institute until it becomes the officially-acknowledged World NO.1 both as an organization and as an institute. Thus, what we should do now is not to stand only on our tradition but to continually create something new.
In the days ahead, some of you will advance your studies even further in the doctoral course, some who finished with the doctoral degree will continue on with research and teaching, and some will advance to completely other fields, but I believe that each of you will advance along your own path. Whichever path you follow, please be proud of being an IMSUT member who studied in the Shirokane and the Kashiwa Campuses through the Department of Medical Genome Sciences of the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Frontier Sciences and continue to take up new challenges with the intellect and ability accumulated during your studies. With those as your foundation, go on in each of your fields or industries to become unique, i.e. the "only one," and by continuing to grow in brilliance, lead the world as well as Japanese society to a brighter future.
We are proud that every year we educate and produce talented graduate students and young scientists who will be leading the field of medical science in the near future. All of you who have been awarded your degrees today are the pride of our faculty members. Of course, in the days ahead, you are still expected to continue to work hard aiming to become NO.1 in the global competition. However, we sometimes win and of course sometimes lose in the international competition. When you feel discouraged because things haven't gone your way, please come back to your starting line and recapture your energy. IMSUT is your alma mater. Just like your home, you are always welcome here at IMSUT to recharge your energy for the next day.
You can contribute toward the betterment of society not just in Japan but throughout the world, and I call on each of you to take an active leadership role in this task. Lifelong learning which I mentioned at the beginning of my talk might require a spirit of boldness. There is a saying that "He who loses courage loses all" and so courage may be a driving force for learning. I hope you don't lose heart in facing difficulties, but rather move forward without fear of failure. You all have limitless possibilities. I wish you continued success and happiness in the future. Please accept my congratulations.