2024 Matriculation Speech

2024-02-21 195

My congratulations to the proud Postechians who have joined the undergraduate and graduate programs at POSTECH this year; and a warm welcome to all the parents in attendance.

After years of diligent study, I am certain each of you has your own dreams for your upcoming undergraduate or graduate school life. I firmly believe that POSTECH will help you actualize those dreams as a sanctuary for pursuing knowledge and promoting personal growth.

The journey of acquiring knowledge from grade school to high school can be likened to fish swimming along a stream. Whether you were leading the pack or trailing behind, everyone simply went with the flow, all heading in the same direction.

However, as incoming freshmen, you have reached the end of that small stream and the beginning of a river known as higher education. The flow is slower here and breadth wider, causing the fish to find different directions. If speed was the only concern during high school, where everyone forged ahead to university admissions, now direction is also critical.

On the other hand, for those of you who have already swam through undergraduate school and reached the lower streams of graduate studies, it is time to look to the vast sea ahead and decide how you will navigate through it. Your first experience of the real world awaits you in the ocean ahead, as the current of education that spans nearly 20 years or longer ends.

In the open sea where no current guides you, each of you must chart your own course and find your own destination. POSTECH takes pride in being the ideal river for young scientists to find their direction and undergo training before venturing into the ocean.

I am sure you have envisioned an ideal model of your major, campus life, and graduate research before arriving here today. However, I encourage you to set aside those preconceptions and partake in the feast prepared by POSTECH, one by one. Rather than conforming to societal norms or opinions of others, I urge you to discover and respect yourself as an individual. Shed all preconceived notions and biases, and grant yourself the gift of freedom.

Lastly, to the parents and family members who’ve entrusted your precious children to POSTECH, I’d like to share with you our philosophy on nurturing our talents. Just outside the office of the POSTECH president, you’ll find a framed quote, likely placed there by our inaugural president, Dr. Hogil Kim. Allow me to share that quote, which are the words of James Bryant Conant, a renowned scholar and former president of Harvard:

“There is only one proved method of assisting the advancement of pure science – that of picking men of genius, backing them heavily, and leaving them to direct themselves.” Please continue supporting these bright young minds as they navigate the currents of POSTECH, through both success and failures, striving to become future global leaders.

Once again, a heartfelt welcome to our new students and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

February 16, 2024
Seong Keun Kim
President of POSTECH