The 2017 Korea University matriculation ceremony
KU President Jaeho Yeom “Challenge the questions for which there is no single correct answers, and seek the truth.”
Google Korea’s executive Taewon Kim advises freshmen to “become a person who sees virtues in others.”
Korea University held a matriculation ceremony for the incoming students in Hwajeong Tiger Dome, which was filled with the over 7,000 new students and their parents, at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, February 28, 2017.
KU President Jaeho Yeom welcomed the new students in his opening speech, “You have successfully gone through the long and dark tunnel of college entrance preparation. You must feel free from that, but I know that you also feel worried about the new phase of your life that you are just about to embark upon, and about the new series of competitions you will probably have to face. But look further and broader: your vision should not be confined to the next four years in here, or ten years until you start to settle down at your first job. Your life expectancy is a hundred years. Your vision should stretch your whole life.”
“I am here today with this sense of duty of great importance to equip our students who would have to struggle with the next hundred years. The 21st century presents us problems that we can no longer solve with our 20th century methodologies. That is why students should train themselves to answer the questions for which there are no single correct answers. Staying awake all night at the libraries does not mean studying. Studying is different from labor work, since it starts from curiosity. Now, start your own journey of seeking pieces of knowledge as many as there are grains of sand on a beach,” he continued, “Korea University has undertaken the challenge to innovate its educational system since 2015 so that students no longer engross themselves in GPAs and official qualifications – or what they call human “spec” – but challenge more complicated and difficult questions with their own autonomy and responsibility. They are no longer passive knowledge-absorbers; they are pioneers. Korea University’s innovation for training the future leaders is unprecedented in the nation.” Yeom encouraged the new students to see themselves as pioneers.
Yeom concluded his remark with an advice for the incoming students: “Please, internalize Korea University’s motto of Libertas, Justitia and Veritas. I hope you understand the genuine meaning of liberty, and you achieve it yourself – free of all the limits you might face. And I hope you contemplate upon what is just in this society where we all live together. Be considerate of others, and treat your neighbors with love. Also, I hope you do not blindly take pieces of superficial knowledge to be the truth. What you believe in might be denied the status of the truth. But what is acknowledged by the most is the truth. Explore the thought-provoking questions hard, and seek the truth.”
Google Korea’s executive Taewon Kim, also known as the Young Googler, delivered a congratulatory remark for the students during the matriculation ceremony.
He advised the students to become active in facing the big changes. “How did you find the Go match between Google’s AlphaGo and Lee Sedol? Many were shocked. Artificial intelligence had been something that only pops up in fiction, and now it came into reality, solving problems even better than human beings do. You might feel anxious and worried. Now, it is being developed at an even faster rate,” he continued, “In the past, people were divided into groups of younger ones and older ones, or newer and older generations. Now the story is different. People are divided into groups who swim in the currents of change, and those who never really swim. Those who do not swim fast enough recede in to the past.” He also added, “I meet a lot of college students, and what I want to tell all of them is that to become an adult is to become able to look at oneself from an objective standpoint. That starts from identifying one’s own limits. You become more mature when you figure out what you can and cannot do. Even if you leave your limits unidentified or concealed, they will pull you back eventually – perhaps after graduation.”
“I sometimes think of myself going back to college life. Myself at the present moment, and myself back in the days. I try to determine which one is better. And I found that there is one thing at which I certainly got better at: the ability to see virtues in others. If I could travel to the past, I would meet people most don’t really feel like meeting and try hard to find their virtues. One way to have diverse points of view is to meet people of that kind, people that you don’t feel like spending time with. You will all eventually write personal statements of some kind prior to graduation. Most people write: “like spending time with others.” But that you like to spend time with people you like to spend time with is just obvious. Who wouldn’t? One key to success, I believe, is to meet lots of people you do not find initially attractive, because that will broaden your perspectives and thus, better yourself,” added Kim.
In concluding his remark, Kim said that “you will be offered a lot of favors simply from being a KU student. But never take it for granted. It is not a trophy you won in the competition; it is a “debt” that you have to pay back to the community. Big nouns do not need big modifiers in order to stand out. Make sure that your names are such nouns, and never try to make yourself flashy with a modifier like “from Korea University.” I hope you become an individual who knows when you are the happiest.”
Kim has been working for Google since 2006. He has written a number of books such as: Fuel Your Passion: A Message from a Young Googler, Letters from a Young Googler: Relive Your Dead Passion, The Man Who Gives Ideas as Gifts and Counselling for the Young. He also serves as a mentor for young people via special lectures on- and off-line.
Prior to the main ceremony that began at 10:30 a.m., the Korea University Cheer Leading Team performed an enthusiastic and energetic welcoming concert for the freshmen beginning at 10 a.m.