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October 13, 2011

Central Luzon State University of the Philippines Names Daisaku Ikeda Honorary Lifetime Professor

Soka University campus in Hachioji, Tokyo

Dr. and Mrs. Sevilleja receive a warm welcome from Soka University and Soka Women's College students

On October 13, 2011, Central Luzon State University (CLSU) of the Philippines presented Daisaku Ikeda, Soka University founder and SGI president, with the title of Honorary Lifetime Professor. The conferral ceremony took place by proxy on the Soka University campus in Hachioji, Tokyo, with CLSU President Dr. Ruben C. Sevilleja and his wife, Gisela A. Sevilleja, representing the Filipino institution. Soka University President Hideo Yamamoto accepted the academic honor on Mr. Ikeda's behalf.

CLSU recognized Mr. Ikeda for addressing "humanitarian concerns transcending geographical and cultural boundaries" in promoting global peace, as well as for his advocacy of education, among other achievements. In his introductory remarks, President Sevilleja explained that the honorary degree was the first ever conferred by CLSU, reflecting the Filipino institute's "unconditional respect, acceptance and support" for Mr. Ikeda's manifold contributions to individual happiness and social betterment.

Originally established in 1907 as the Central Luzon Agricultural School, CLSU was designated the first state college in the Philippines. Some 11,000 students are currently enrolled in the university's undergraduate and graduate programs offering specialized instruction in such disciplines as agricultural education and engineering, business administration, veterinary science and medicine, and education. Located some 150 kilometers north of Manila, the 658-hectare CLSU campus was also launched as a model agri-tourism site for Luzon that draws several thousand visitors under the Philippine Agri-Tourism Program adopted in 2001.

In his message, Mr. Ikeda extended his utmost gratitude to CLSU and dedicated the citation to Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, founder of value-creating pedagogy who died in prison for his steadfast opposition to Japanese militarism in World War II. Mr. Ikeda also found President Sevilleja's belief in education--which he describes as "the great equalizer" enabling students to share the benefits of their education with the rest of society--closely resonant with the Lotus Sutra, which seeks to empower all people without distinction in leading truly meaningful, contributive lives. In his view, the "quintessential goal of education is to enable every individual to draw forth and cast the brightest light that dwells within us all. It is the challenge of melding that brilliance for the sake of global peace and the happiness of humanity."

[Adapted from an article in the October 14, 2011, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]