OIST awards its first doctorates to 14 scholars

OIST awards its first doctorates to 14 scholars

Students receiving their PhDs in their doctoral gowns and hoods made by the Yomitan craft guild. February 24, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Onna, Okinawa


February 25, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo


Onna – The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) in the village of Onna, Okinawa held its first graduation ceremony on February 24.

The post-graduate institute was established in 2011, with the first students beginning their course of study in 2012.

Fourteen scholars from 10 different countries and regions of Japan were awarded PhDs.

Approximately 300 people including parents and those involved in the establishment of the program were in attendance to celebrate the scholars’ completion of studies and departure for new opportunities.

Additionally, an honorary degree was awarded to Koji Omi, 85, who first proposed the creation of OIST while serving as the Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs.


OIST president Peter Gruss addressed the graduates, quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better,” before telling the students, “I wish you the best of luck on your next great experiment.”

For the commencement address, Nobel laureate Dr. Steven Chu, who was also one of the visionaries responsible for the creation of OIST, encouraged the students, saying, “Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children.”


Dr. Caroline Starzynski, 30, spoke on behalf of the graduate students, saying with a smile, “I wish all of the remaining PhD students lots of persistence, and also luck.”

The graduates will go on to be researchers at Harvard or Tokyo University, or to work as editors at research publications like Springer Nature.


(English translation T&CT and Sam Grieb)


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