2020年度学位記授与 公衆衛生学研究科長 祝辞（2021年3月10日）
公衆衛生学研究科長 遠藤 弘良
On behalf of all faculty and support staff of the school, it is with great honor and privilege that I have the opportunity to say a few words to you all, the graduating Master of Public Health Class of 2020.
From the bottom of my heart, I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to all of you, as well as those who have supported you, such as your family and friends. As working professionals, I can imagine that you must have had stressful days and nights as you were studying while juggling activities in your professional and personal lives, especially under the difficult circumstances we have faced with the terrible COVID-19 pandemic over this past year.
Although we managed to successfully transition to fully online education benefiting from our previous experiences with e-learning coursework from the inception of our program, we regret the unfortunate circumstance of missed in-person interactions and social opportunities with faculty as well as classmates.
Especially, it is with great regret that some of the international students had to return to their home countries in the middle of their studies, in addition to some students not even being able to set foot on our campus.
Despite these difficulties and challenges we have faced together during the COVID-19 pandemic, today, surely you must be filled with relief, excitement, and perhaps a bit of anticipation and uncertainty for what tomorrow may bring. Your Master of Public Health degree represents both the time you invested in hard work as well as the new opportunities that lie ahead.
During the time you spent at St. Luke’s, we expect that you have obtained the practical skills and knowledge required of public health professionals, and through the capstone project, have also learned how to apply those skills and knowledge to real life issues.
Ironically, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of public health has never been more recognized. But, all of you had the foresight to already recognize the importance of public health even before this pandemic started. We hope that your skills and knowledge newly obtained at St. Luke’s will contribute to addressing important healthcare issues encounter at your workplace and even in your daily lives as exemplified by the pandemic situation. In addition to these tangible skills and knowledge, you have also nurtured the attitude to view phenomena and data from broader perspectives. This will be an indispensable asset for your career path.
Another very important asset you have obtained is your network of people. Our school is proud of diversity. Diversity in professional background, nationality, culture, and experience, to name just a few. Although the means of developing such networks encountered challenges due to the necessity to transition to online formats, you must have realized this circumstance also had some benefits; namely, being able to develop networks beyond geographical borders and physical barriers.
As professionals, you have to continue studying throughout life.
This is a long and hard road, but connected with this diverse network of friends and colleagues, you will not have to walk this road alone. You will be able to share challenges and concerns you encounter and encourage each other to continue forward.
After graduation, you will not be a student anymore. However, as alumni, we consider you part of the domestic and global network of the St. Luke’s family. As you have been connected via Zoom during the pandemic, you will continue to be virtually connected with us.
With our four years of experience and the educational foundation having been laid for our students, we hope to strengthen opportunities for continued education for our graduates. Helping to support alumni keep up with the progress of science is another important mission of a professional graduate school. Your proactive involvement in future activities and events is highly welcomed and appreciated.
We look forward to the successful development of your professional career paths and wish you all the best in your future endeavors.