LUJ Holds Winter Commencement Ceremony for Class of 2023
On Saturday, December 2, 2023, Lakeland University Japan awarded both Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and 2-year Associate of Arts (A.A.) degrees to students who have completed their studies.
The ceremony took place in LUJ's Muskie Hall, located at our Kokugikan Front campus building in Ryogoku.
The day started around 12:30pm, when the day's graduates and LUJ faculty and staff checked in and changed into their caps and gowns. After a brief rehearsal, friends, family, and guests of the graduates began entering the lecture hall around 1:30pm, with graduating students as well as faculty lining up.
The ceremony officially started at 2pm. Dean Charles Laurier delivered opening remarks, followed by messages from Rahm Emanuel, the US Ambassador to Japan and Sumida mayor Mr. Toru Yamamoto, and Lakeland University Wisconsin president Dr. Elizabeth Borgen, all of whom highlighted the importance of education and how it helps pave the way toward a better tomorrow.
After these messages, Dean Laurier conferred the degrees, with Associate Vice President Charlie Stockman presenting both the B.A. and A.A. degrees to graduating students.
Teru Nakagome, who earned his B.A. in Business Administration, was awarded Magna Cum Laude for his academic performance, earning an overall GPA above 3.6 during his time at LUJ.
B.A. graduate Peyton Bagley was chosen as the Class of 2023 Representative Speaker. In her speech, Ms. Bagley shared some of the fond memories she had after receiving the Okinawa Peace Scholarship at the age of 16. Ms. Bagley gained a profound sense of "cultural understanding" as a high school student living in Naha. "I can genuinely say it was the time of my life--I fell in love with Japan, embraced the language, and cherished the meaningful work I was involved in. The impact was so profound that I realized my future belonged here in Japan."
Ms. Bagley also spoke directly to her fellow graduates. "This graduating class has achieved goals that deserve so much praise. I've seen students start in the EAP [English for Academic Purposes program], and in just a few years have mastered the ability to write 10-page research papers in English. I've seen international students build entirely new lives here in Japan. I think it's safe to say we've proven to ourselves, and the world, that we can overcome challenges."
After Ms. Bagley's speech, Mr. Stockman closed the ceremony. Photos and celebrations followed.
We at LUJ congratulate all of the graduates and wish you the best as you enter a new chapter in life. Remember, when you feel in the dark about your life, consider the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."