Students From Around the World Gather for Embry-Riddle’s Tokyo Commencement

Keynote speaker Hidetaka Aoki with the 2023 Worldwide Campus graduation class
Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus celebrated commencement for students located throughout the Pacific in early December. (Photo: Embry-Riddle/Chelsea Morrison)

Graduates, government partners and university representatives were among those attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Tokyo commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. Students from mainland Japan, Okinawa, South Korea and as far away as Germany and California embarked on the journey to celebrate their academic milestone with friends and family amidst breathtaking views of Tokyo Bay.

More than 145 students graduated from the program this year, with 55 of them walking the stage at the Embry-Riddle Worldwide Campus U.S. Military program in the Pacific Command (PACOM) ceremony to receive degrees. 

Watch the commencement ceremony online.

“We were proud to celebrate with students and their families,” said Nancy Tran-Horne, executive director of U.S. Military overseas campus operations. “Our resilient graduates now have relevant degrees and skills to take into the aviation/aerospace industry. Incredible opportunities await them. We thank all of our government and industry partners for their devotion to our alumni’s academic and professional success, as well as the academic advisors who helped them along their academic journey.”

Also in attendance was Worldwide Campus Chancellor John R. Watret, Ph.D., FRAeS; Sherwin Baptiste, adjunct faculty for the College of Aviation; Hayley Yamanaka, associate executive director for PACOM, who served as the ceremony’s reader; and Colleen Grey, Atsugi/Yokosuka campus director, who assisted with diploma presentations.

Commercial space executive Hidetaka Aoki, who helped develop Japan’s first spacecraft when he worked for Mitsubishi Electric, delivered the keynote address.

“Embry-Riddle is not just a university,” he told graduates. “It is a launchpad for dreams that soar higher than the clouds. You have learned here not only to navigate the skies but also to navigate through challenges, to innovate and to push boundaries, and that's what sets you apart.”

Aoki is the co-founder of Space Port Japan, which promotes the development of Asia’s first spaceport, as well as the SPACETIDE Foundation, Japan’s first industry-wide platform for accelerating NewSpace activities. He has also served on the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and various other government committees, throughout his varied career.

“We are extremely proud of our graduates and all that they have accomplished,” Watret said, reflecting on the event. “We know that they will take the knowledge they have gained to propel themselves to reach new professional goals. We deeply value the partnership we have with PACOM, and we are pleased to celebrate the academic milestone these newest graduates have achieved.”

Embry-Riddle has served overseas U.S. military students since 1973 and has served PACOM since 2015. Learn more about the university’s Asia military campus operations.

Posted In: Institutional News