2017 POSTECH Matriculation Ceremony Speech
To the proud freshmen of POSTECH!
I would like to extend a most sincere welcome to the newest members of the POSTECH family. Our campus is made that much brighter by the brilliance of your eyes that reflect the excitement and anticipation as you take your first steps in this new chapter called university. I am thrilled to be a part of your vibrant fresh start. Furthermore, I would like to express gratitude to the parents who have tirelessly supported our freshmen with devotion and love.
In December of 1986, POSTECH was established as the first research-oriented university in Korea. On the foundation built upon 30 years of challenges and accomplishments, this will be the year where we take an even greater leap forward to realize our Founding Tenets and contribute to the nation and humanity. I am confident that you, who have joined POSTECH on this momentous year that represents the starting point of the next 30 years, will shape POSTECH’s bright future for the better.
John Dewey, an eminent American philosopher and scholar, once said that “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” POSTECH agrees wholeheartedly and is striving with the utmost effort to develop innovative educational models that differ from the knowledge-delivery model of yesteryears so that you, our leaders of tomorrow, and your dreams may bloom to your heart’s content. Ultimately though, the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom during university life is entirely up to each and every one of you. POSTECH is an environment where students can learn and grow on their own. I urge you to let this verity take root deep within yourselves: how well you spend your collegiate years will incontrovertibly determine the very essence of your lives.
The future that you will live in will be dominated by new tasks, new occupations, and new businesses. And in that strikingly different world, I am certain that your POSTECH degree will not define who you are. Instead, the keystone will be the abilities of the individual. These precious years, where you will cultivate the skills and talents that will shape every facet of your lives, will be the last opportunity for you to simultaneously hone your intellect and morality.
During your time at POSTECH, it goes without saying that you must faithfully seek knowledge in your respective majors. However, you should also learn to understand the society you will join by relating with other people through various activities in and outside the campus, and living with consideration and generosity through volunteer programs. Strive to experience all that you can to nurture intellectual balance and broad insight. You must develop the strength of your thoughts by reading overarching works in the humanities and social sciences. And I would also like to encourage you to build physical hardiness through regular exercises.
I am sure that there is a lofty dream inside every one of you here. You must never forget that dream. Cherish it. It does not matter if the specifics in your dream change, but people can only grow when they have a dream. Those without a dream for the future can no longer be called young. Rest assured, there will be plenty of trials and tribulations during the fulfillment of your dreams, but failures and mistakes are privileges of youth. You need not fear them. Moreover, advancements in science can only be attained through failures and mistakes. Failure is but a milepost on your journey to success.
As you live your lives, remember that happiness is more important than success. Happiness cannot be attained by walking on paths worn with traverse or through comparative advantage with others. The talented individuals who create their own paths instead of following in the footsteps of others lead a happy life. Seek “Only One,” not “Number One.” A life that enlivens society by caring for family, friends, and colleagues will always be abundant with happiness. Constantly dedicate yourselves to building and maintaining strong relationships with others.
My proud Postechians!
Every single day that you live with integrity and in earnest will build up into tremendous assets for your lives. In order to realize your towering dreams, you must endeavor to overcome yourselves and take one step forward each day. I ask with anticipation for you to take full advantage of all the opportunities you will face while at POSTECH and go forth flourish your wings of infinite possibilities.
Once again, I would like to extend my congratulations on your matriculation, and I sincerely wish for you to mature into Postechians filled with happiness by caring for yourselves and contributing to the nation and humanity.
And finally, allow me to express my gratitude to everyone for joining us today. Thank you.
February 17, 2017
President of POSTECH