Takeo Morisaki named Commencement Speaker
Takeo Morisaki, a senior from Nagasaki, Japan, with a major in health and human performance, has been selected to deliver the commencement address at UW-River Falls.
Morisaki becomes the eighth graduating senior in the modern history of the University to be invited to deliver the commencement address. Commencement is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 24, in the Robert P. Knowles Physical Education & Recreation Center. Some 577 bachelor's and 40 master's candidates are expected to participate in a ceremony that will be witnessed by as many as 5,000 friends and family members.
Morisaki's speech is titled, "Turning Point: How My College Life Changed Me!" In his address, Morisaki will encourage his fellow graduates to take a chance, as he did when he made the decision to attend college in America. He did not want to go to a Japanese university, because students have to declare a major when they enter and they cannot change it. He wanted to explore the options before making up his mind. As Morisaki became involved in campus life, he developed confidence and skills that he never would have learned in Japan, he said. He believes it is important to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself in life. The opportunity to come to America changed his life, and he wants his fellow students to grow through new experiences, as well.
Morisaki was selected for the honor of delivering the commencement address by Chancellor Ann Lydecker on the recommendation of the Faculty Senate External Relations Committee. Each spring semester all commencing undergraduates are invited to apply for the privilege. They must include a letter of support from two faculty members, a resume, and a draft of their proposed speech. The committee reviews the applications, invites students to deliver their speech in an audition, and then sends a recommendation to the chancellor, who approves the selection and extends the invitation to speak.
Health and Human Performance Professor Debra Allyn, in recommending Morisaki to deliver the address, said he is one of the best students she has worked with throughout her teaching career. "He is very organized and diligent in his work as a student," she said, "and he has developed an excellent relationship with his peers, within the department and across campus."
Lecturer and Head Women's Basketball Coach Cindy Hovet in the Health and Human Performance Department said of Morisaki, "He has been a student in my class, a manager for our women's basketball program, and a student assistant coach and administrator for the team. He has been exceptional in all of those circumstances."
Committee chair and biology Professor Katherine Miller said she found Morisaki's message to be optimistic, positive and personally moving. "Our world is becoming increasingly globalized, and Takeo's speech is a marvelous example of how all nations are made up of individuals with hopes and dreams for their future, and we all truly belong to one world," she said.
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