- August 2022 Commencement Address 2022.08.26
August 26th, 2022.
Seoung Hwan Suh, President
My hearty congratulations to our graduate of 2022! You earned your bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees today, and now you are ready for a fresh beginning as Yonsei alumni. I would also like to express our gratitude to the parents and family members for their loving support. My thanks also go to Chairman Dong-soo Hur and the other members of the Board of Trustees, who I know extend their best wishes to our graduates for a bright future. I would also like to thank President Kyung-sun Yu of the Yonsei Alumni Association and our 350 thousand alumni. Lastly, my deepest thanks and respect go to the faculty, who have devoted themselves to the students through their vocation of teaching.
To those of you who are taking your first steps outside the Garden of Yonsei, I would like to read to you some of the verses from Yun Dong-Ju’s poem, “New Road.” The poet writes “my road is always a brand new one” and says that he walks this road “today and tomorrow.” If he keeps on walking, he will “cross the creek to the woods” and eventually “climb over the hill to a village.” Like the ending of this poem, graduates, the road you tread from now on will be a new one. It will not be familiar or safe. When you walk this unknown path, there will be hardships and trials; you will have to cross the creek and climb over the hill. But as long as you do not give up, you will reach your woods past the river and arrive at your village past the hill. This hopeful message is the legacy of our senior, Yun Dong-Ju. And I would like to extend this hope to all of you who are leaving the Garden of Yonsei. Do not give up; walk your own unique, inspirational, and creative new road. That is the way to meet the Yonsei spirit of truth and freedom, and Yonsei will always stand behind you as you march along that road. We eagerly anticipate the new woods and villages each one of you will cultivate in the future.
“My road” – “a brand-new road” – this may also be what Yonsei needs right now. We live in a momentous time of paradigm shifts, in which we are being pushed to reexamine the fundamental meaning of a university. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that we must not stop searching for this new path. I sincerely hope that we can all stride along that road together, towards the new woods and village of education and research that Yonsei will build.
Yonsei has already begun this journey. We have taken on daring challenges surpassed by no other university, and now we are reaping the fruits of those efforts. This June, our school was ranked 73rd in the QS World University Rankings, repeating last year’s accomplishment of attaining its best ranking since its founding. This also means that Yonsei is ranked first among private universities, not only in Korea, but across the entire Asian continent. In the ranking of graduates’ reputations done by the human resource departments of global conglomerates, our school was ranked 29th. In other words, our alumni are among the top 30% of graduates worldwide. These international values define you as well, new graduates, so please leave this place today with pride. Our university was also ranked 27th in the 2022 Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, which uses social responsibility as the primary indicator. These rankings show that Yonsei is acknowledged among the world’s best in all areas of education, research, alumni reputation, and social contributions.
This success is due in part to the numerous innovations we have recently implemented, including one particularly important innovation in the field of education. Since 2021, we have been running our own online educational platform, LearnUs. While LearnUs is essentially a platform for managing the teaching and learning process at Yonsei, it also offers open educational opportunities to those outside our university. In less than a year, the LearnUs site has had 530 hits from more than 20 thousand members of the general public. The platform offers around 500 courses, and approximately 4,000 lecture videos have been posted. With this platform, Yonsei has started a pioneering revolution, opening the doors to college and sharing knowledge with the general public, despite the COVID-19 crisis. This is certainly a significant innovation in digital education that will impact all of society. Thanks to LearnUs, although you are leaving the school grounds today, graduates, you will always be able to access Yonsei’s educational materials.
We have implemented another strategy to expand Yonsei’s educational resources. In 2021, we began working with other universities to establish a joint online teaching network. We create join lectures with the 23 other universities in this network, and all of these lectures are hosted on Yonsei’s LearnUs. Yonsei has also begun to offer joint lectures with overseas universities. Thus, we will continue to pioneer educational experiments; through such leading innovations, we plan to train new talent that is prepared to meet the needs of our future society.
Yonsei is also producing research of outstanding quality and quantity. In July, our school secured the final contract to construct the Yonsei-IBM Quantum Computing Center at Yonsei Science Park on our International Campus. Fueled by our efforts, South Korea has become the fifth country to have a quantum computing center, following the United States, Germany, Japan, and Canada. Quantum computing is a promising technology that could support significant developments in many industries. I believe that this technology will allow Yonsei to play a pivotal role in promoting research and addressing complex social issues that have hitherto been considered unresolvable.
Our proud Yonsei family:
In closing, I would like to gently remind you that you cannot claim sole credit for the valuable achievement you celebrate today. Thank your families, friends and acquaintances for their love and sacrifice. Be grateful for your teachers. However, please do not stop there. You also owe a debt to anonymous public support from throughout our community. Do not forget that many benefactors have contributed to your success. Thank them as well. We hope that you all, in light of the gifts you have received, will live lives of giving. Please show your gratitude, not only to your immediate friends, but also to your neighbors, even if they are strangers. This is the calling shared by the entire Yonsei family, all who have stayed, however temporarily, in the Christian woods of Yonsei.
Again, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to today’s graduates. We pray that each and every one of you here today will walk tomorrow’s road with God’s guidance and blessing.