The spotlight was on the first group of doctoral students at the welcome event that was held in the auditorium on Monday morning. Speeches from President Jonathan Dorfan, Provost Robert Baughman and Dean Jeff Wickens welcomed the students and their families to the university.

President Dorfan stressed the diversity of the doctoral students,"If you somehow doubted that we are a truly international university, you have to look no further than the demographics of our incoming students.They come from 18 countries/regions, spread across 4 continents: Africa,North America, Europe and Asia. The highly diverse scientific makeup of the class is further enhanced by the enormous cultural diversity. I am not aware of a graduate class anywhere in the world that is scientifically and culturally so broadly constituted – this class, like those that will follow it at OIST, is very special."

Enthusiastic applause greeted each student as they introduced themselves to the OIST faculty and staff who packed the auditorium. The event finished with a crescendo as local dancers and drummers rushed in from the back of the auditorium to perform a typically energetic and enthusiastic Okinawan celebration dance.

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