Greetings from the President
What to Cultivate in Yourself As a Kwansei Gakuin Student
Osamu Murata, President
Dr. C.J.L. Bates, the fourth chancellor of Kwansei Gakuin, established the school motto “Mastery for Service” based on the founding principles of the institution. After introducing this motto in his statement, he said, “We do not desire to be weaklings. We aim to be strong, to be masters,” urging his students to self-actualize and to train themselves to be strong, not only for their own sake, but also for all humanity. So, what should you cultivate in yourself during your college days?
One thing you should do is to become aware of what problems are. To determine the presence of problems in a certain event, you should have your own standards. In other words, you should have your own view of the world. Learning at university prepares you to form your own view of the world. Another important thing you should do is master the basics that will enable you to keep learning even after graduation. Rapid changes are taking place in the world, and what you learn at university soon becomes obsolete. You should always try to continue acquiring new knowledge and information. To that end, it is extremely important for you to acquire scientific thinking skills to draw conclusions by conducting investigations in your field of specialization.
To form your own view of the world and acquire scientific thinking skills, you need persistent learning and constant practice, and these require considerable effort and patience. I hope that, through relentless learning and practice, you will train yourselves and grow into World Citizens who embody our school motto,“Mastery for Service.”
Maintaining the Kwansei Gakuin Identity
Ippei Murakami, Chair of the Board of Trustees
In 1889, Kwansei Gakuin was founded by Dr. W.R. Lambuth, a missionary of the American Methodist Church, South, in Harada-no-Mori (now Nada, Kobe), which is next to Kobe City. At the time of its founding, Kwansei Gakuin was a small school with five teachers and 19 students, but now, it has grown into a comprehensive educational institution from kindergarten to graduate school with over 28,000 members, which includes preschoolers, pupils, students, graduate students, and faculty members.
At present, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has imposed many restrictions on us, and we have been forced to live different lives than before, which we had not intended. Of course, our school, Kwansei Gakuin, is no exception. On the other hand, new businesses and new social systems are being created which use the situation as an opportunity, or are based on the facts of the situation. The truth is that we are being forewarned about the arrival of a new society; one where things that were once taken for granted are no longer taken for granted, and where things that were thought to be difficult to achieve can now be done normally, at a speed that was previously unthinkable.
Since its founding, Kwansei Gakuin has encountered many changes and difficulties, but each time, it has made changes on its own to become the Kwansei Gakuin of today. However, during that time, we have maintained the things that must not be changed, and things which will cause us to lose the identity of Kwansei Gakuin as a private school if they are changed. Specifically, our education is based on Christian principles, as expressed in our school motto, Mastery for Service. Through that education, we aim to guarantee quality for everyone who studies at Kwansei Gakuin. This is clearly stated in the "Kwansei Grand Challenge 2039," the ultra-long-term plan that the entire university is working on together to realize as the future vision of Kwansei Gakuin (the target year being 2039, our 150th anniversary).
In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic mentioned above, Kwansei Gakuin is currently facing other social and environmental problems, such as the declining birthrate, which are extremely significant and difficult issues to solve for school management. Like its founder, Dr. W.R. Lambuth, Kwansei Gakuin will actively and boldly take the necessary risks for the development of Kwansei Gakuin, without losing sight of the things listed above which should be protected, not just in Japan, but in the world.
What We Should Aspire To: Having "No Fences"
Jo Funaki, Chancellor
Kwansei Gakuin is a fairly large learning and research community with 27,000 students from kindergarten through undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as an International School (K-12), spread over a total of eight campuses - three in Nishinomiya - along with those in Sanda, Takarazuka, Senri, Osaka, and Tokyo. When the parents and guardians of those students and our more than 200,000 alumni are included, that community extends throughout the world.
At the time of its founding, Kwansei Gakuin had just 19 students. Nonetheless, the school conceived by Walter R. Lambuth, the missionary who served as Kwansei’s first chancellor, was a global one, just like today’s Kwansei Gakuin. For him, it was not the institution’s size, but rather the global perspective that shaped its studies that was important. He returned to the United States two years after founding the school and subsequently worked in locations including South America, Europe, Africa, and Siberia, earning the description on a monument in Mississippi that memorializes him as a “World Citizen and Christian Apostle to many lands.”
Kwansei Gakuin has made changes that would have been unimaginable 130 years ago when it was founded at Harada-no-Mori, and has become a large-scale organization rich with diversity. Amidst those waves of change, we will retain and further develop our founding spirit and education based on Christian principles. We are here today because we continued to work toward that understanding and a shared ownership, and I think that many prayers and devoted efforts lie behind it.
When Kwansei Gakuin moved from Harada-no-Mori to the Uegahara campus 90 years ago, our fourth chancellor (and first President), Dr. Bates, was enamored with the open atmosphere on campus and its lack of fences. The words he left behind, “We have no fences,” show one ideal to aspire to for the people who study and work at Kwansei Gakuin. As a large organization where many diverse people are gathered, in a society where it is necessary to work toward a diverse society, we must not shrink from that diversity. I want us to discover the rich potential in diversity, avoid putting up unnecessary “fences” against other people and against ourselves, and coexist with one another. I also want us to share in the fact that our challenge remains unchanged - moving forward in order to build such a society - and it will stay the same in the future, as well.