Thank you all for braving this summer heat and coming to our open campus event.
Let me first remind you to be cautious of the heat and your health throughout the day.
This main building, including this auditorium, was built around 80 years ago in 1932. The school’s history began in 1875, 138 years ago, when Tokyo Women’s Normal School was established in Yushima near Ochanomizu Station. When some of the school buildings were destroyed in the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, the school was transferred to Otsuka, where it remains today. Records show that when the school became a university under the new education system, the name “Ochanomizu University” was chosen in tribute to its nickname ever since its establishment, “the school at Ochanomizu.”
It is this history that led to the construction of this building in reinforced concrete with maximum earthquake and fire resistance. The design should also be noted, such as the tiled exterior which was a popular style at the time, or the entrance floor made from high-quality Japanese marble and featuring the same design as the National Diet’s floor. These details symbolize the high hopes that society saw in this university at the time, and I believe that we have consistently lived up to such expectations ever since our establishment as the first national higher educational institution for women.
This school has produced Japan’s first woman to earn a doctorate in science, the first woman to earn a doctorate in agriculture, and the first woman medical doctor. Many of our alumni have worked tirelessly for the establishment of universities and educational institutions, for example Tetsu Yasui, who founded Tokyo Woman’s Christian University and later became its president, and others who founded the current Kyoritsu Women’s University and the predecessor to Japan Women’s College of Physical Education. In addition, the Ouinkai Alumni Association established Ouin Gakuen in 1924, one year after the Great Kanto Earthquake.
Some alumni currently play important roles in today’s national commissions of inquiry, academic associations and other fields. When I have the opportunity to speak with people in the business field, I am often told, “We have one of your alumni in our company, and she is a great asset,” or “She is a person who can be relied on.” It makes me so proud to hear how our alumni are recognized.
In this way, our university has contributed to society as an educational institution that produces pioneering women who support society and create the future in a variety of fields.
The educational principles of Ochanomizu University are knowledge, insight and tolerance. In other words, we believe it is important to acquire solid specialized knowledge, develop the ability to make appropriate judgments with a broad perspective, and have the open-mindedness to understand diverse cultures and ways.
This principle applied to a specific education system can be seen in our distinctive undergraduate programs, the Multiple Program Elective Course System and the 21st Century Liberal Arts Education Integrating Humanities and Sciences program.
More information on these programs will be provided after this. The point I wish to make now is that both of these programs are possible only at our school.
There are two reasons for this.
One is that our school is relatively small. This means there are fewer students and smaller classes. This brings students closer to each other and closer to faculty members, both within and across faculties, departments and courses. Faculty members enjoy friendly communication amongst themselves as well.
In other words, our environment that enables cross-disciplinary interaction is what supports our new and unique liberal arts education (Promotion of 21st Century Liberal Arts Education Integrating Humanities and Sciences) and the Multiple Program Elective Course System.
Because classes are smaller, each student has a bigger presence and more opportunities to be heard, which allows them to develop independence and individuality over the course of their four years here.
The second reason is our faculty members who are also excellent researchers. There are some who like to separate education from research, but we believe that high-quality, substantial education is only possible with excellent research. Research requires the determination to take on new, challenging matters, and this is based on a broad awareness of the world’s issues and solid specialization. At Ochanomizu University you will find such excellent researchers shaping the education in our faculties.
This fusion of education and research is apparent in the number of undergraduate and graduate students. We currently have about 3,000 students, and 1,000 of them are graduate students. It is rare to find a university in which one out of three students are pursuing graduate studies. This shows the university’s spirit of advanced specialization.
On this educational foundation, we are currently putting great effort into producing women leaders with global perspectives.
This is a particular focus for us now, as we have been selected for the Project for Promotion of Global Human Resource Development by MEXT (The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology). There are only four national universities, including Ochanomizu University, that are tackling this project with a university-wide effort. We are now focusing on strengthening language skills and sending more students overseas. Our aim is to “give women more power and send more women out to the world.”
These efforts accomplish a global education that no other university can offer, based on the foundation of our unique undergraduate education. It is my desire to see students learn earnestly in our academic environment, turn the knowledge they acquire into power, and grow as individuals.
Lastly, I would like to tell you a little bit about our students.
Once a year I teach a class called “Ochanomizu University Theory,” mainly to first year students. This class is designed to introduce students to the university’s educational and research characteristics, new initiatives, and aspects of studying in a university. Here are some thoughts and decisions of students in my class.
All of the students exhibit a strong will to learn, and I am proud to see that every student has an earnest attitude. I want to keep progressing this university together with students. I truly wish to see students acquire knowledge, insight and tolerance, and become leaders who create a rich future in their respective fields. It would be my greatest joy to see you join us.
Although a single day may be too short a time, please enjoy experiencing the atmosphere of Ochanomizu University today, and again be careful of your health in this heat. Thank you.
President, Ochanomizu University
Ochanomizu University Homepage Steering Committee
2-1-1 Otsuka, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8610, Japan
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