Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University


Notes from the President

My message to new APU graduates (Fall 2020)

Sep 18, 2020

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.

Looking back on your life and activities at APU, it is extremely unfortunate that the coronavirus pandemic spread even as the date of your graduation drew near, restricting you to online classes while limiting your extracurricular activities and your freedom. However, you managed to get through these challenging times by drawing on the strength and support of others in the APU community. I am deeply humbled by your resilience and adaptability in the face of these extraordinary challenges.

As you depart from the university, I would like to leave you with three pieces of advice.

First, your graduation marks the beginning of a new phase of learning. As the world continues to transform at mind-boggling speed and fields such as information technology and artificial intelligence drive remarkable advances and innovation, you will find the knowledge you acquired at the university will soon become outdated. I therefore urge you to meet a large number of people, read numerous books, travel extensively, and continue to learn for the rest of your lives. This is what the French philosopher René Descartes referred to when he said he sought knowledge from “the great book of the world” after graduating from university.

Second, I would like you to become men and women of action. Regardless of how lofty your ideas may be, the world will not move an inch unless you put your ideas into action. That is not to say that your actions will easily bring about change in the world. On the contrary, over 99% of all people will experience failure in their endeavors. However, while objectively acknowledging this fact, we must also be aware that the advances in society to date have been powered by individuals who were convinced their actions would change the world. In other words, please challenge yourselves to be “agents of change” who transform the world in line with our APU2030 Vision.

Third, I would like to impress on you that you have access to a large network of peers. Today, nearly 20,000 APU alumni are active in various parts of the world. The university has 36 Alumni Chapters, 26 of which are located overseas, so there will be many opportunities to collaborate with your peers. Assembling a team of like-minded individuals is of critical importance in any undertaking, so please do not hesitate to leverage your APU network when pursuing your interests or objectives. Naturally, as the mother organization that nurtures this network, APU will always be happy to welcome you home, so please feel free to visit us at any time. When you do, please do not forget to stop by the Office of the President.

In closing, I would like to share with you my favorite quote:
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever.”

I offer my warmest congratulations on your graduation, and wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Haruaki Deguchi
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

September 18, 2020

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