TUJ holds in-person commencement: Graduates weathered the COVID-19 storm, will now spread their wings to take on the world

Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ) held its commencement ceremony on June 6, 2021, at the Hitomi Memorial Hall of the Showa Women’s University. Traditionally held in June, concerns about COVID-19 last year necessitated a postponement of an in-person ceremony until December 2020. Observing COVID-19 infection prevention protocols and following local guidelines this June, TUJ celebrated the achievements of its Class of 2021 graduates from Japan, the United States, and other countries around the world as part of Temple University’s (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.) 134th Commencement.

All students enrolled at TUJ receive an American degree from globally-recognized Temple University. Approximately 200 graduates from the undergraduate and graduate degrees offered at TUJ participated in the commencement ceremony. The total number of Temple University Class of 2021 was 10,221, who hail from all over the U.S. and various countries all over the world. The oldest graduate in the undergraduate program was 69 years old and the youngest was 19 years old. The breakdown of the number of TUJ graduates for the year 2021 is 281 for the undergraduate program (BA/BS and AA), and 63 for the graduate program (master’s & doctorate degrees), totaling 344 graduates

Total number of graduates in the TUJ Class of 2021: 344

In celebration of the students, pre-recorded messages from Temple University President Richard Englert and Executive Vice President and Provost JoAnne Epps were delivered. Nicholas Hill, Deputy Chief of Mission for the U.S. Embassy, provided congratulatory remarks while the keynote speech was delivered by Robert Noddin, Chairperson, AIG Japan Holdings KK. Additionally, Temple University’s famous mascot, Hooter the Owl, made his debut to congratulate graduates and their families.

TUJ Graduation 2021 (Hooter the Owl)
Hooter the Owl taking pictures with TUJ graduates as his first job in Tokyo with his permanent residency

The graduating speakers representing the undergraduate and graduate programs expressed their appreciation, looking back their days at TUJ. Naomi Moore from Washington, USA (BA) and Naoto Uono from Niigata, Japan (LLM) both recounted their own journey to their respective degrees, how they overcame the anxiety and difficulty of the sudden transition to online learning due to COVID-19, their gratitude for the support from their families and those around them, and their outlook for the future. (Visit the TUJ website “graduation 2021” for speech transcripts.)

TUJ streamed the proceedings live online to allow families and friends of the graduates from all over the world to view it. The broadcast can be viewed on the TUJ Youtube channel.

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