Commencement Address for the 2020 Academic Year
Commencement Address for the 2020 Academic Year
  • Moo Hwan Kim President of POSTECH
  • 승인 2021.05.18 04:11
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▲ President Moo Hwan Kim
▲ President Moo Hwan Kim



Dear beloved graduates,

How I wished to extend my congratulations and share my encouragement in-person with you graduates, who have spent as little as four years to over ten years at POSTECH! But the pandemic that no one in the world had predicted and still with an unknown end has again taken away the opportunity to meet with you this year. With a regretful heart, I relay my heartfelt message to you through this letter.
Perhaps, in this era of sending e-mails instantaneously all over the world in a few seconds, this analogue method of communicating via a letter may not suit me as an engineer, especially at our university which stands at the frontlines of science and technology. However, now that I cannot be with you at this time of celebration, I think a letter placed in the hands of each and every graduate may be the most fitting way to share my heart with everyone.
As I regrettably cancelled our commencement ceremony last year, I emphasized to the graduates that it is the most significant event not only for the graduates but also for our university. This is because your daily life, experiences, and positive or negative emotions you have felt at POSTECH altogether make up its history and achievement. Therefore, you graduates who have successfully completed your studies and left POSTECH are the future, and the pride of the university, the professors, and staff including myself.
Since I cannot invite you to the commencement ceremony, I am enclosing a small gift with this letter. By now, you may be a little puzzled by the pen – It is as analogue as a letter. You may have wondered why a pen in this day and age when most of our work – including this letter – is done on computers.
As I pondered about which gift to send to you, I came up with a number of items. There are mask straps that you may so need these days or some souvenirs to remember POSTECH by. But rather, I wished for something that would be meaningful for your future.
“If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write,” said Martin Luther, a leading religious reformer. With this commencement ceremony, you have now moved on from being a student to becoming a junior and a fellow scientist – no matter what path you may choose – to all your professors including myself. So I chose a pen, though a bit ordinary, as a tool to draw the time and life from this moment on and to change your future and the world.
As I send this gift, my great hope is that you will use this pen to draw the arc of the moral universe through science. Science writer Michael Shermer explains that science has helped to make this world an ethical and progressive place by citing Martin Luther King’s words, “The trajectory of the moral world is long, but it eventually bends toward justice.”
What comes to mind as examples of such cases are the recent research findings from POSTECH, such as assembloids, artificial skin that embodies skin diseases of diabetic patients, and cell clusters using 3D nanofibers. These are body tissues that can test toxicity and new drugs outside our body that not only help to verify the effectiveness of new drugs much faster, but also to minimize the loss of precious lives by reducing animal testing.
In addition to other research findings, rational thinking based on science and technology has enriched our lives and contributed to defending democracy, human rights, and freedom. Those of you who have been educated at POSTECH and undergone many experiences on this campus are the very leaders of Korea who are already prepared to make our country and the world more just. And it would be wonderful to continue to draw that moral trajectory with this pen.
Of course, some may indeed use this pen to write papers or articles that will change the world, while others may sign documents that will change their lives. It is a bit sad but some may lose it very soon. No matter how it is used, it will not last you a lifetime. But at least someday, when faced with anxiety or difficulty regarding your present or your future, remember that this pen embodies the support and affection from your seniors – and feel proud as a Postechian.

My proud graduates!
Since the safety of all of you, your family, and members of POSTECH is of paramount importance, we ask for your understanding on having a reduced commencement ceremony and replacing our farewell with this humble letter. It is disappointing that COVID-19 prevented us from being together until your last day here and from inviting all graduates to campus. However, when the world regains its normalcy and allows us to finally gather together, I will certainly arrange a time for you to reminisce the memories made at POSTECH.
Congratulations again on your graduation. I wish that your future will always shine as brightly as the sunlight of May.