- 2022 Matriculation Address 2022.02.25
Congratulations to all of our entering freshmen!
I welcome all of you new college students—now past the fierce competition of admissions—to join our Yonsei University family. I also thank the parents and families for entrusting your beloved offspring to our institution. We ask for your generous support as we seek to nurture your children into admirable citizens who will lead our society into the future.
Since Yonsei University was founded in 1885 as the first institution of higher education in Korea, for 137 years we have kept to our mission of bringing salt and light to society. American missionaries Horace G. Underwood and Horace N. Allen arrived in Joseon as young men, and built our university’s foundations with dedication and self-sacrifice. We retain the passion of their youthful dedication as Yonsei continues to pioneer a new era according to God’s noble mission.
At the end of the Joseon Dynasty, Yonsei opened the doors to modern medicine and higher education. During the Japanese Occupation, we raised pioneers who risked their lives to protect our nation. In the era of industrialization and democratization, we produced leaders who led our society into new territory. And in the age of globalization and information, we are nurturing leaders with an international mind and digital literacy. With such a pioneering spirit throughout our history, Yonsei has risen as a global leader in higher education.
I hope that our incoming freshman class will acknowledge the dreams and efforts of the 350,000 Yonsei alumni ahead of you. I trust that you will continue the tradition of Yonseians who have led the nation and the world during successive periods of upheaval.
To our enterprising Yonsei freshmen who will lead the new age!
The COVID-19 pandemic has unfortunately led us to this virtual matriculation event instead of a festive in-person celebration. The last two years of this pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to our institution, but we have also found opportunity within this darkness and are laying the foundation for the next leap ahead in educational innovation.
Yonsei’s LearnUs, the first online education platform in Korea, is revolutionizing educational content and delivery. The model of the university that we have inherited from the Middle Ages is almost unrecognizable as we create a learning plaza that is accessible around-the-clock, from wherever you are located. Seventeen Korean universities currently participate in this online joint lecture network, and our network continues to expand to extend Yonsei's educational capabilities at home and abroad.
In this era of the fourth Industrial Revolution, our society requires interdisciplinary thinkers. Our future pioneers will be those who can solve complex problems with a creativity drawn from diverse fields of knowledge. The challenges of the future will also require global leaders who embrace diversity through empathy, communication, and cooperation. In doing so, we will solve the great problems of our society in ways that are not possible with our existing knowledge and technology.
At Yonsei, you will not be passive learners who receive text-based knowledge, but rather active, curious learners who engage in discussion and knowledge-sharing. The “micro-major” will allow you to achieve a core understanding of several fields. Meanwhile, cutting-edge courses in digital humanities and big data analysis will make use of artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR). When you are ready to leave college, “Career Yonsei” will provide AI-assisted customized career support and interview programs. The cutting-edge technologies and campus-based knowledge you will learn will be extended off-campus through international exchange and industry partnerships. We trust that such opportunities offered by Yonsei will help you grow into innovative future leaders.
To our freshmen who will serve society as worthy leaders!
For the past 137 years, Yonsei has held the pursuit of “truth and freedom” as our core value. We take the words of John 8:32, “The truth will set you free,” as a directive to use our educational mission to serve society and humankind. We hope that all Yonsei members will uphold the spirit of service and cooperation in building a sustainable future.
In our times, we are surrounded by cutting-edge science and technology. This makes it even more imperative that we return to a spirit of warmth and care. Our firm decisiveness needs to be tempered with kind consideration, and we must always engage in critical self-reflection. I hope you will agree with Yonsei’s dedication to a society in which no one is marginalized. We trust that this founding spirit of Yonsei, as it was established 137 years ago, has carried through to our present, and also through the legacy of our poet Yoon Dong-joo, who sang of stars even during our nation’s dark ages.
Yonsei’s global influence in the area of social service is already widely recognized. According to the Impact Ranking conducted by Times Higher Education (THE), our university’s efforts toward social contribution not only ranked first in Korea this year and last, and Yonsei was also selected as the 30th university in the world. Yonsei University is being recognized across the globe as a crucible of innovative, service-minded leaders.
To our freshmen who will join us on Yonsei’s campus!
As you learn, collaborate, and grow on this campus, you will find yourself becoming one with the traditions and history of Yonsei University. There is a saying in Myung Shim Bo Gam: “When you are in the company of a good person, it is like staying in a room with fragrant herbs and orchids, and soon you will be one with their scent.” The bonds that you will form with peers and upperclassmen will be such “never-ending beautiful and fragrant bonds” so that you can share the wonderful, noble friendship of “Jiranjigyo.” During your years on this campus, I hope you will indulge in the rich fragrance of Yonsei’s academic gardens.
To the vigorous hearts and active minds of our freshmen!
You, our newest members of the Yonsei community, are our future. I hope that you will build the stamina to overcome the challenges ahead of us by basing your efforts in a search for “truth and freedom.” And I hope you will serve humankind by becoming innovative leaders with a community spirit. I hope you will follow in the footsteps of those who came before you at Yonsei, to become honest, mature, responsible intellectuals who hold kindness and service in your hearts.
Once more, congratulations and welcome. May God’s love and grace be with you throughout your new university life, and may you see all of your dreams grow into reality.
March 2, 2022
President of Yonsei University, Seoung Hwan Suh