- February 2018 Commencement Address 2018.02.26
To our graduates who will receive honorable degrees today, I offer you sincere congratulations. I also send my gratitude and respect to the parents and family members for their dedication and sacrifice to support their beloved children throughout their studies at Yonsei. I would also like to thank Chairman Dong-soo Hur of the Board of Directors and distinguished guests for joining us today to encourage and support our graduates. In addition, I would like to acknowledge our faculty members who have made great efforts to educate our students.
I always tell our graduates that the diploma you receive today is not a simple piece of certificate paper. It is a travel visa that will enable you to enter the “Age of Hyper-uncertainty.” Have you ever thought about how long you will live? In this age of the “super-centennial,” your average life expectancy will exceed 110 years and you will be able to “travel” to the year 2100. No one can predict what you will experience throughout this long life span.
Futurists are arguing over the time artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence, once predicting the year 2045. As the expected period gradually decreases, it is becoming clear that the future society will not be intellect-based. The future society will depend on creative and convergent thinking that reaches beyond the boundaries of the existing knowledge system, rather than simple knowledge derived from artificial intelligence. I hope that our graduates will become talents that ask creative questions instead of answering difficult questions.
A creative thinker is not a cynical intellectual who randomly criticizes other opinions and dismisses social responsibilities; cynicism is just self-satisfaction that stems from intellectual arrogance. It is important to remember that with criticism comes the responsibility to provide an alternative solution. Above all, we must attain “intellectual generosity” by accepting difference and acknowledging the possibility that truths different from what we believe in may exist.
Beloved Yonsei graduates!
At Yonsei University, you have achieved much more than just growing intellectually. You will become change-makers who can give hope and make a real difference in this world. You will endure hardships, refuse to settle for small successes, and always strive toward a new future.
Our campus grounds are immersed with the sublime Yonsei spirit – the spirit of devotion and service passed down from Yonsei University’s founders. Here the famous poem of Yun Dong-ju praising the heaven, wind and the stars was born. Here people fought for the Hangul language during the colonial period. Here burned the torches of democracy to protest against dictatorship. We Yonseians know the importance of appreciating our blessings. We learned about love and compassion for the people around us, how to understand and respect each other, and the value of sharing, service, and empathy. I hope you will throw the light of hope upon society, reaching out through reason and emotion. I hope you will contribute as leaders in the global community by striving to solve global issues and resolve conflicts between nations, generations, and social classes.
Our Yonsei community members!
Your ties with Yonsei do not end here today, but rather open to a new beginning. As you live in an uncertain future, the Yonsei spirit of challenge, creativity, convergence, and sharing will become your lighthouse. Remember the pioneering spirit of the Yonsei founders when facing hardship, failure, despair, and sadness.
Each and every one of us represent Yonsei University. We all embody and carry on the Yonsei spirit.
May the grace of God be with our graduates and everyone here today.