Founder's Message - 17th Commencement Ceremony

Message from SUA Founder Daisaku Ikeda to the Class of 2021

Daisaku Ikeda looks at large photo of the plans for the SUA Aliso Viejo campus

My beloved graduates, I envision firmly clasping every one of your hands, to send you off with this exhortation: May you brighten civilization in the 21st century like the dawn beaming with hope!

Aliso Viejo, California | May 28, 2021

To the Soka University of America Undergraduate Class of 2021 as well as to the Master’s Program of Educational Leadership and Societal Change Class of 2021, all of you who are jewels of prodigal light, my warmest congratulations on this day! You have prevailed over challenge after challenge to celebrate your graduation with songs of triumph.

To your families, I offer my appreciation and felicitations from my heart, for you have surely had to endure as many or even more difficulties during this time to secure this crowning achievement with them.

And to the SUA faculty, staff and everyone who has been involved in rendering such thoughtful care and support for our students, enabling them to grow and flourish, please accept my lasting gratitude.

My beloved graduates, I envision firmly clasping every one of your hands, to send you off with this exhortation: May you brighten civilization in the 21st century like the dawn beaming with hope!

Arriving from every corner of the planet, our students gather as one with supreme courage and purpose to study at SUA—and all of you, without exception, are global citizens, the very embodiment of hope for humankind, who cast light upon global society in this era.

It is the light of wisdom that deepens through sincere, steadfast inquiry; the light of courage that intensifies through the spirit to tackle every challenge, undaunted by adversity; the light of compassion that mounts through acts of altruistic service.

A world-renowned agricultural scientist, Professor M. S. Swaminathan has long been a dear friend to us. Through his research to improve variants of rice and wheat, Prof. Swaminathan saved countless people across Asia from starving while contributing mightily to the advancement of the “Green Revolution” and sustainable agriculture in his motherland, India. He was originally inspired to his calling by the Bengal Famine of 1943, which he witnessed firsthand as a student. In an effort to banish hunger and starvation and rid the world of their tragic toll, he threw himself into his studies with fiery resolve.

As Prof. Swaminathan saw it, for those who embrace the sublime goal arising from the desire to help others, each new day represents the dawn of another breakthrough.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, you are all striding forth with sublime ideals lit in your hearts as you continue to break new ground in this time of your youth—and in doing so every single day of your lives, be proud that you usher in a new dawn for all of us.

Even more so, having shared so many moments of joy and sorrow with your fellow Classmates, the bonds of trust forged with one another will only strengthen and scintillate after graduating.

As you know, Rosa Parks is the mother of the American Civil Rights Movement who, together with your mothers, fathers and people of goodwill worldwide, expected great things from SUA. And this is what she called out to us:

…we are here on the planet Earth to live, grow up, and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.

I implore all of you to step out, advancing in good cheer while creating value come what may, bringing light to our planet in this century as unfading beacons of hope.

May each of you enjoy the best of health, happiness, victory and glory—this I pray, together with my wife Kaneko, every day, for you are as precious as my very life.

Please all, stay well with stout hearts in high spirits!

In celebrating the 20th anniversary of SUA’s dedication on this glorious day in May,

Daisaku Ikeda
Soka University of America

May 2021