- August 2019 Commencement Address 2019.08.30
August 30, 2019
To our graduates who will receive honorable degrees today, I offer you sincere congratulations. You stand here as a testament to the constant challenges you have met and the efforts you have made. On behalf of Yonsei University, I am even more proud of you because I know how difficult the process has been. I extend my gratitude and respect to the parents and family members for their love and sacrifice to support their children throughout their studies at Yonsei University. 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.
Graduates, what were your dreams and expectations when you first set foot on campus as a member of the Yonsei community? Did Yonsei University help you achieve them? How will the knowledge and wisdom that you have gained here impact society in the future? I await your answers to these questions with concern and trepidation. At the same time, we at Yonsei have been witnesses to your growth and are delighted to have been part of your journey.
People often say that university years are the “golden time” of life. So, how did you spend them? You may have experienced overwhelming excitement and joy as well as unexpected hardships and loss. Countless moments – such as the happy first year after admission, the close friendships formed during your Residential College year in Songdo, the school energy of AKARAKA and triumphant cheers of the Yon-Ko Games - will remind you of your golden days. Graduate students will look back on sleepless nights writing master’s and doctoral dissertations and quiet hours reflecting on Cheongsongdae benches as fond memories. Now, you will leave these memories behind and step outside of the ivory tower. The world you will soon encounter is a lot different from what you have ever experienced. You may await fiercer and more relentless competition. When you do, I advise you to steady yourself and take on challenges rather than getting frustrated or impatient.
What makes a Yonsei University graduate unique? I wish to emphasize once again the Yonsei vision of 3C - Christianity, Creativity, and Connectivity - that I first introduced when I took office as President. The spirit of Christianity does not refer to religion in a narrow sense but reflects the attitude towards life to serve and share. Creativity is the ability to navigate through a new era in history - the Fourth Industrial Revolution - by evolving beyond the existing paradigm. Connectivity means to reach out to others and engage with the world through communication and empathy. During your years at Yonsei, you have been both consciously and unconsciously educated to cultivate the spirit and abilities of 3C. I hope you developed the mindset of breaking out of your comfort zone to enjoy new challenges, striving to become an exceptional, unstandardized intellectual, and pursuing justice over efficiency. Although this attitude may not seem important now, I believe it will become a valuable asset for you to pioneer the future.
Therefore, you should be proud to become a graduate of Yonsei University. This confidence will give you the courage and wisdom that no other experience or qualification can provide. At the same time, with honor comes social responsibility. The sense of awareness and critical thinking that you have acquired in the classroom, in student club rooms, and in the presence of the great monuments of Yun Dong-ju and Lee Han-yeol, will become the light and salt of this dark and chaotic world.
From now on, there will be fewer opportunities for you to visit your alma mater. Personally, this will be my last commencement address as President as well. However, Yonsei University will always have eyes and ears on your challenges, struggles, and achievements. In the spirit of recognition and gratitude, we applaud your final moment here at Yonsei. May God bless you in your future endeavors. Thank you.