On April 3, Tenri Health Care University held its first ever entrance ceremony in the university’s auditorium in the presence of the Shinbashira. It was established by consolidating and reorganizing Tenri Nursing School and Tenri School of Medical Technology into a single university. The new university will assume the task of training nurses and clinical laboratory technicians of the path that these two schools have provided until now while seeking to offer an even higher quality of medical education.
Last March, Tenri Yorozu-sodansho Foundation, which manages Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital, submitted the application to establish the university to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Official permission was granted on October 24.
In 1967, Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital established Tenri Nursing School and Tenri School of Medical Technology, a year after its own founding. As educational institutions that trained Yoboku in health care with a basis on faith education, the two schools have sent about 2,400 nurses and 1,200 clinical laboratory technicians to work at medical facilities across Japan.
With 74 students enrolled in the Department of Nursing Science and 31 in the Department of Clinical Laboratory Science, the first set of incoming students numbers 105 in all. Students will hereafter go through a four-year curriculum packed with both general and specialized subjects. At their graduation, students will not only receive a bachelor’s degree either in nursing science or clinical laboratory science but also be eligible to take the national examination in nursing or clinical laboratory technology.
The entrance ceremony began with opening prayers and the singing of the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo. The Shinbashira then took the podium to deliver an address.
After thanking the many people who worked together to establish the university, the Shinbashira told incoming students that their performance would become a cornerstone of the university and mark the start of a new tradition. He then spoke about the purpose of establishing the university. Regarding the faith education that comprises the backbone of the students’ training, he described it as an education in which one learns to make God the Parent’s teachings a standard for one’s thoughts and decisions as well as to implement them. He then quoted from a talk by the second Shinbashira Shozen Nakayama explaining that the ideal frame of mind of those assigned to nurse a person who has returned to Oyasama’s home with a health condition was to warmly welcome the person in Her place.
Next, after quoting verses from the Ofudesaki regarding the subject of “weeding and fertilizing,” the Shinbashira emphasized that it was important to remember that medicine and medical treatment are to be offered as weeding and fertilizing not only to restore people to health but also to help them settle God the Parent’s intention in their minds. He said: “One should not stop at being satisfied that a person’s health has recovered. Rather, it is important to have the person settle in the mind the Parent’s intention at the world’s beginning so that he or she can live the Joyous Life that God the Parent looks forward to.”
The Shinbashira then spoke about the history of Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital, whose beginnings can be traced to 1935, when Tenri Yorozu-sodansho Foundation was established as a part of Tenri Seminary. After reviewing the purpose behind the founding of Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital, he asked all concerned to realign themselves with this purpose and make efforts in their respective roles and positions to help people recover both emotionally and physically by offering as much kindness as they can.
The Shinbashira then told incoming students he wished them to make efforts to spiritually grow so that they may sufficiently respond to Oyasama’s intention. He asked them to not only acquire knowledge and skills but also make proactive efforts to nurture themselves.
He then turned to the instructors and pointed out that people placed in a position to nurture others can only do so after they have grown themselves. He expressed his desire for them to perseveringly nurture the next generation with a firm attitude while cultivating unwavering conviction.
In closing, the Shinbashira said to incoming students: “I would like you to devote your full attention toward spiritual growth in a way that befits a student of Tenri Health Care University, making efforts so that you will bring joy to the people around you to the point where they will say, ‘This student is surely a student of the Health Care University. . . .’ Having the honor of being the first students of this university, I would like you to absorb what your instructors teach you in a receptive and proactive manner so that you grow admirably.”
This was followed by a speech from University President Osamu Yoshida. He mentioned that the university’s teaching philosophy was “Exerting oneself for the sake of others is one’s source of joy” and explained that the act of exerting oneself for the sake of others was to serve selflessly in a prayerful manner and declared that such was a spirit he wished anyone who worked in health care to have.
He was followed by Hidehiro Okumura, chairperson of the university board of directors, who stated his expectations for students to actively pursue their studies and help build a new history.
Next were congratulatory speeches by guests of honor. First to take the podium was Nara Governor Shogo Arai, who said: “I believe that the university’s philosophy of ‘exerting oneself for the sake of others’ will benefit you for a lifetime. I would like you to cultivate a spirit that seeks to exert oneself for the sake of others during your time at the university.”
He was followed by Tenri Mayor Keisaku Minami, who said, “I want you to pursue your studies with all your might while believing that a wide range of possibilities will open up to you depending on your efforts alone.”
Another guest of honor, Mr. Atsushi Imagawa, President of the Nara Hospital Association, says: “Tenri has a long history of nurturing human resources in health care. It is a very happy occasion for a university devoted to health care to be established here since it will help raise the standard for health care in the area. I am counting on health care professionals who have studied at this university to contribute toward the development of health care in this region in the future.”