Founder's Message — Welcome to the Undergraduate Class of 2025 and the Eighth Class of the Master’s Program in Educational Leadership and Societal Change
August 10, 2021
The time that each of you spend on this campus, cheerfully learning to forge the spirit of indomitability with your fellow students day after day—that is from whence a new world will emerge in this century, to nurture humanity’s capacity to create lasting value.
To my beloved members of the Undergraduate Class of 2025 and Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Societal Change Program: I offer my warmest congratulations to you all!
Welcome to Soka University of America, the highest seat of learning for global citizens that casts the light of hope for all.
I also wish to extend my heartfelt felicitations to your families as well.
As to our SUA faculty, university staff and officials, and student body, I thank you from my heart for the meticulous attention and diligence you devoted in preparing for this day despite the pandemic, welcoming our precious, newly enrolled students of exceptional ability with open arms.
Humanity today faces an ordeal of unprecedented magnitude. Now more than ever, a new vision, an alternate philosophy—and the fostering of a global citizenry entrusted to realize these ends—is needed to establish a global society that lives in peace and coexists in harmony.
Every one of you stand at the forefront of this grand and noble challenge, the brightest and most capable of individuals who have come here on this milestone year, the 20th anniversary of SUA’s founding.
The keynote speaker of an online panel discussion organized by our university in January this year was Andrew J. Young, the former US Ambassador to the United Nations who helped lead the American civil rights movement alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In his address, Ambassador Young spoke highly of SUA, likening its highly diverse enrollment to the very world itself. He urged our students to turn to their fellow classmates sitting nearby and speak with them with the aim of getting to know “as many people on a personal basis as possible” and to make that a routine.
In this way the Ambassador sheds light on our fundamental, shared humanity. And by persisting in dialogue with an open, forthright heart, he strove to uproot racism in America and put an end to apartheid in South Africa.
I, too, have persevered with an unwavering belief in the power of dialogue. It is only through dialogue that we can transcend the divides imposed by different cultures, ethnicities, nationalities and religious creed, to conjoin our inherent goodness with the boundless potential found within us all. Dialogue enables us to create values of fundamental good regardless of circumstance, and it expands the bonds of solidarity of global citizens ever onward and outward. That, I remain convinced, is the essential spirit of Soka value-creation and the surest path to enduring peace.
I ask that all of you engage in mutually enriching dialogue with your friends and instructors at SUA, with the members of the Aliso Viejo community, drawing invaluable lessons from their diverse values and perspectives as you hone genuine wisdom and build character ever further.
Named after luminaries who helped shape the course of human history, the academic facilities of SUA are where students are free to exchange ideas and learn from the insights advanced by the finest minds of all eras worldwide. The Marie and Pierre Curie Hall, which opened in 2020 for example, was named in honor of the renowned physicists who devoted their lives to the study of radioactivity.
Recalling the difficulties that she faced as a struggling student, Marie Curie wrote:
You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end each of us must work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity…
The time that each of you spend on this campus, cheerfully learning to forge the spirit of indomitability with your fellow students day after day—that is from whence a new world will emerge in this century, to nurture humanity’s capacity to create lasting value. I will always be certain of this.
I treasure you with all my life, for you are the beacon of hope for this planet. Nothing inspires me with greater joy than your growth and triumph. I will be following your progress closely and praying wholeheartedly that your days will be spent in the best of health!
Founder, Soka University of America
August 10, 2021