October 25, 2011
University of Buckingham Presents Honorary Doctorate of Letters
On October 25, 2011, University of Buckingham, UK, presented an honorary doctorate of letters to Soka University founder and SGI President Daisaku Ikeda in recognition of his contributions to the protection of high culture, the promotion of education and the advancement of world peace. A ceremony took place at the Central Tower on the Soka University campus in Hachioji, Tokyo. Chancellor Baron Tanlaw of Tanlawhill, Simon Mackay, sent a congratulatory message. UB Vice Chancellor Terence Kealey entrusted the certificate to Mr. Ikeda's son, SGI Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda, who accepted it on behalf of his father.
Located in Buckinghamshire, England, the University of Buckingham was founded in 1976 as an independent, non-sectarian, research and teaching university. Presently the sole private university in the UK, the institution is dedicated to research and education and offers bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees through five faculties of study: law, humanities, business, and science and medicine. While there are seminars and lectures, much of the teaching is done in small groups of four to eight students in the traditional tutorial style of Oxford and Cambridge.
In his conferral speech, Vice Chancellor Kealey remarked on the many parallels shared by University of Buckingham and Soka University including the importance of fostering capable individuals who will successfully contribute to society through their chosen paths in life. In conclusion, he said, "in honouring Dr. Ikeda, the University of Buckingham is also honouring itself, because in accepting our honorary degree Dr. Ikeda--who is globally recognised as a major figure--is recognizing our shared commitment to the use of education in making the world a better place."
In an acceptance speech read by his son, Mr. Ikeda commended the University of Buckingham for its tradition of placing the students' welfare first and foremost and for its founding pioneers' leadership that enabled the fledgling university to swiftly develop into a preeminent institution of higher learning, ranking first in surveys of student satisfaction for the past six consecutive years. Mr. Ikeda pledged that in keeping with Buckinghamshire's motto "Vestigia Nulla Retrorsum"--No stepping back, he would "progress, together with the youth of the world, toward a new era in which education serves as the basis for human triumph . . . never retreating a single step."
Accompanying Vice Chancellor Kealey were: Professor Richard Langhorne, director of the Centre for Global Studies; past High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire Peter Thorogood and his wife Leonie; Senior Lecturer and Programme Director for English Language Studies Gerry Loftus; and Alumni Associations Head Ann Matsuoka.
Delegates from University of Buckingham and Soka University representatives pose for a commemorative photo following the ceremony
[Adapted from an article in the October 26, 2011, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]