2015 Commencement Ceremony Speech

2016-02-22 380
My proud graduates of POSTECH!

I would like to express my sincere congratulations on your honorable academic accomplishments.

Respected Chairman Kwon, Board of Trustees, distinguished guests, families, friends, and members of POSTECH!

Today marks a fresh start for our graduates, who will be breaking new ground as leaders in the world of science and technology for the future of humanity. Please accept my deepest gratitude for joining us on this momentous occasion. Once more, I would like to extend my special thanks, especially to our dedicated faculty and staff for their passionate guidance in research and studies, and to the parents for their support and devotion toward our graduates.

The transition from student to alumni is always meaningful, but today is even more so, thanks to the presence of Chairman Seok-Hyun Hong of JoongAng Ilbo, who will receive his Honorary Doctoral Degree.  I hope for our young Postechians to be inspired by his challenging spirit and innovative ideas.

Our proud graduates!

POSTECH has three mottos for school discipline: Integrity, Creativity, and Aspiration. Keeping them in mind, I would like to offer you a few words of wisdom.

You will be living in an era of constant change. The ever-accelerating speed of innovation is shaped by the development of science and technology. But you are the trailblazers who outrun such tidal waves. I wish for you to pursue a life of creativity, in which you aim high and embrace daring challenges. Do not fear the rough patches along the way, for it is better to be proud of your failure than to not even try.

In 1982, a man at the age of 25, opened an online wholesales business and hired two employees. He stood upon a crate of apples and passionately stated, “We may be small now, but we will be a world class business in the next 30 years.” A few months later, overwhelmed by his “great vision,” the two employees left the company. Despite such difficulties, the young entrepreneur persevered. He was even diagnosed with chronic hepatitis, giving him only 5 more years left to live, yet he never showed a hint of despair. With strong determination to carry on, he recovered from his illness and continued to build up his business. This is the story of Masayoshi Son (Jeong-ui Son), the founder of Soft Bank, which reached over $100 billion in sales last year.

I hope today will be a critical juncture of which you undertake your own concrete “great visions” in your lives. A life of integrity and diligence will gradually take you towards accomplishing that vision. There will be no such thing as failure as long as you do not give up on your goals. “If you start doubting your goal, you are bound to be distracted. Once you are fully devoted to a firmly set goal, that is when it is no longer out of your reach.” This is the saying of our respected Founding President Tae-Joon Park. I strongly believe that your dedication to fulfilling your dreams will breathe life back into this depressed society.

My dear graduates!

I believe you are well aware of POSTECH’s founding tenets. Our utmost priority is to contribute to the nation and humanity. Your intelligence and experience will be essential in changing the world for the better. Become a warmhearted person who considers others first and cares for the underprivileged.

Being a part of this society, competition is unavoidable. It is better to enjoy the struggles and challenges that you encounter, which is ultimately the true form of a progressive life. However, the privilege that you must take advantage of, is to consider the people who have fallen during those competitions. I ask of you not to become leaders who care only for their own success, but leaders who share with others and devote themselves to enriching the world.

To our future leaders, and everyone here today!

POSTECH will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in December. POSTECH has grown at a miraculous pace, and it will continue to lead in enhancing the learning and research environment of higher education in Korea. Take pride and responsibility in sharing POSTECH’s legacy of such potential.

My beloved graduates!

As of today, POSTECH will become your alma mater. “Mogyo,” alma mater in Korean, literally means “mother school.” Most of you will be leaving our campus today, and POSTECH, as a mother to a child, will constantly applaud you for the journeys you take. You are the future of POSTECH, and furthermore, the future of this nation. I sincerely wish for you to lead your precious and irreplaceable lives, striving for excellence through ceaseless endeavors (Jagangbulshik, 自强不息).

Thank you.