- 2020 Matriculation Address 2020.02.28
February 28, 2020
Beloved freshman class!
I extend my sincere congratulations and a warm welcome to you to Yonsei University. You are now proud Yonseians.
Since its establishment in 1885 as Korea's first higher education institution, Yonsei University has fulfilled its role of shining light to the world and acting as the salt of society for 135 years. The University pioneered modern medicine in Korea by producing the nation’s first doctors, students risked their lives to restore national independence and protect the spirit of the Korean people, and it has persevered throughout the country’s industrialization, democratization, and informatization eras. With this courageous and pioneering spirit, Yonsei University has now secured its stature as a globally recognized university spearheading world-class education and research. I hope the entire freshman class, now the newest members of the Yonsei family, will commemorate the sweat and tears of our 340,000 alumni and continue carrying the Yonsei legacy.
Dear freshman class!
As you take your first steps forward as Yonseians, I would like to share a few words of advice as your President, your teacher, and your alumnus.
First, develop a communal spirit that supports and serves others. You cannot become a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which values coexistence and sharing, by following the competition-driven, self-interest based paradigm of the former industrial society. In this light, all Yonsei freshman students receive Residential College (RC) education for a full year to gain valuable life lessons while living and learning together in the dormitory. I hope you will embrace the holistic learning experience by engaging with your peers in late-night discussions and intellectual discourse, ultimately growing together. By doing so, you will develop to become leaders with the wisdom to live in harmony with others, to become Yonseians with a caring heart that artificial intelligence could never replace.
Second, continuously fuel your drive to learn new knowledge and skills. As we encounter the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – the age of artificial intelligence, robots, and big data - you will experience cutting-edge digital technologies and learning methods at Yonsei University. You will receive multi-dimensional, innovative education via a virtual platform that extends beyond the classroom, where you will learn and interact with the international community.
And yet, you will need more than technical skills. With the explosive development of science and technology, the socioeconomic situation is also increasingly becoming more unpredictable. Therefore, it is crucial to learn how to respond wisely to these rapid changes in technology and society. I encourage our freshman students to nurture their “mega-competence,” the ability to adapt, reflect, and gain knowledge continuously. Future talent must be more than just knowledgable or highly functional. You must develop yourself continually by thinking deeply and learning broadly to become a leader with the ability to create innovation. I hope our entering students grow to become innovative talent who will lead new paths by addressing changes and uncertainties in the future society.
Third, honor your duty and role as a university student. All freshman students will take the Freshman Honor Pledge. It is a promise to become a mature and responsible intellectual as a Yonsei University student. In particular, you will pledge to 1) engage in university life and academic activities sincerely and honestly, 2) be considerate and show respect towards other members of the Yonsei community, and 3) actively participate in solving social issues with creativity and innovative thinking. Only by keeping this promise of honesty and consideration for others based on Christian values can you become bold intellectuals and proud Yonseians. I am confident that all freshman students will develop to become true Yonseians who value their honor as university students.
Beloved entering students!
I hope you embrace the vast array of experiences and educational opportunities while enjoying your youth on campus. Instead of memorizing answers to get good grades, ponder deeply and explore your intellectual freedom. Rather than focusing on building your resume, try many things and be creative. Instead of hesitating from fear of failure, never stop challenging yourself. It is the path toward real personal growth.
Yonsei University will provide a place of learning for our freshman class to aspire and build their future. Run free in the vast Yonsei campus. Our faculty and staff, including myself, will act as Yonsei’s “Catcher in the Rye,” providing a safe environment for you to develop and grow.
Honorable freshman class!
Like the Yonsei eagle, soar high and strong to a bigger world at Yonsei University. You are now the future leaders who will pursue the next advancement of the University. Once again, congratulations and a big round of applause to our beloved entering students as you begin your new chapter here on campus. Thank you.