Sep 28, 2020
APU held the graduation ceremony for 2020 on Friday, September 18. In a first for APU, this ceremony was held entirely online as a precaution against the novel coronavirus. This ceremony honored the fall cohort of 514 undergraduate and graduate students (418 international students representing 41 countries and regions, and 96 domestic students) together with those who graduated in March 2020 but were not able to have a graduation ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation at the time.
Graduates joined via the Zoom online meeting platform, watching President Haruaki Deguchi and a small number of faculty and student representatives at B-Con Plaza in Beppu. Friends and family of the graduates as well as other members of the APU community watched the proceedings as they were streamed live on YouTube and Facebook.
President Deguchi addressed the virtually-assembled graduates with congratulations and words of encouragement:
“I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all new graduates. We, the faculty and myself, applaud you on your journeys thus far.
Members of the March 2020 graduating class are also joining us for today's celebration. It was very regrettable that we were unable to hold a graduation ceremony in March because of the coronavirus, but now we can celebrate both the spring and fall graduating classes in this joint online ceremony. So once again, let me express my congratulations to all of you who graduated in March 2020 as well as those of you graduating today.”
（President Deguchi's full comments can be found here.）
Undergraduate representative and winner of the Ando Momofuku Honor Prize, Kelvin Tang ('20, APS, Indonesia), addressed his classmates while reflecting on their collective time at APU:
Despite the pandemic impeding our ability to meet in person, today is a very important day for us all. Four years have passed, just like that. We barely had time to blink. Think back to orientation in your first year, as you wandered around campus trying to find the right building. Do you remember pushing yourself through Japanese Foundation class for five hours a day, four days a week? Navigating challenges like juggling a part-time job while maintaining your academic performance. Struggling to balance roles, responsibilities, and deadlines in countless group projects. Sure, we all had our own grey days of feeling alone and homesick, but I will never forget the thrill of being in AP House and talking to strangers from other countries for the first time.
Today, we graduate from APU not as strangers meeting for the first time, but as friends who have grown together in a way few will ever know. Let me close my speech with a quote that one of my senpais told me. This quote is one I will remember for the rest of my life: “If we can’t run, then we walk. If we can’t walk, then we crawl.” No matter how difficult the situation we are in and will be facing, do not stop dreaming, and keep moving forward. Time is too precious for us to stop and whine.
Graduate student representative Lauren Qiao Su Nagao ('20, GSA, USA) shared her gratitude at being able to share this occasion with her fellow graduates.
I am grateful to APU for providing me with this wonderful opportunity to celebrate this special milestone with all of you. We each have unforgettable moments like these which have shaped our individual APU experience and also the culture of APU.
This culture which we have created together, further developed, and shared, is the one we will take with us wherever we go.“
The highlight of every APU graduation is the cap toss, and this virtual event was no exception. Graduates around the world, many clad in red, joined in with their own hand-made caps that they assembled following the instructions in a video produced by APU staff and posted on the 2020 graduation website.
To watch the Graduation Ceremony previously recorded on Youtube Live, please visit the following special website.
Website for 2020 Graduates