Koç University News & Announcements Bulletin

November 2017


Dear Members of the Koç University Community,

November is the last month of fall when the Indian summer warms our bones and helps us enjoy the last sunny days, followed by the crisp cold that reminds us of the winter days to come.

True to its nature, for us the month of November this year came with celebrations, observances and remembrances.

On November 10th, we mourned the Founder of our Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who passed away 79 years ago. This year, I was very much inspired and touched by the wonderful message of our Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Koç University, Mr. Ömer M. Koç. For the past twelve years, Koç Group has been issuing a tribute to the lasting legacy of Atatürk on this day of mourning, widely seen and shared throughout Turkey on many television channels and other news outlets. This year’s theme that we see Atatürk everywhere and anywhere, while we work, produce, share and think, particularly resonated with me. Ever since I realized my own 57th birthday, I have pondered how our country would have been had Atatürk lived longer than his 57 years and overseen the full development of his young Republic. Aside from his military genius, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was one of the most revered statesmen as well as a true intellectual, having read profusely in many languages and having written nine books, one of which is on geometry and speaking many foreign languages. I am certain that he would have given so much more to the development and elevation of our country, in almost every walk of life, had he lived longer.

On November 24th, we celebrated Teachers Day; being conscious of how blessed we are to be engaged in teaching & learning in our daily lives. Each of us must remember the incredible teachers that have touched us in our own education. For myself, my dearest ‘teacher’ during high-school at TED Ankara College was Kıvılcım Özkök, from whom I learned so very much not only about English and English Literature but also about dignity, pride and hard work. She was a truly exceptional person and a teacher, who later on moved to become the High School Principal but succumbed to cancer at such an early age. A wax statue of her currently stands in her model classroom at TED Ankara College, which I was truly touched to visit back in 2011. Although I am largely a person with technical/science interests, I owe my love of literature and language, as well as my command of English and my perfectionism in writing to Kıvılcım Hanım.

This month, we also presented the second Koç University Rahmi M. Koç Medal of Science at a very nice ceremony held on November 22nd. The Medal program which started last year, was created to celebrate and encourage relatively young scientists, and is to be given one year in Science, Engineering and Medicine and the subsequent year in Social and Administrative Sciences, Humanities and Law. The program also celebrates the contributions to our institution of our Honorary Chairman Rahmi M. Koç, while also recognizing the outstanding position that Koç University has now attained as a comprehensive ‘research university’, and as a beacon of excellence in education and scientific research.

The second recipient of the Koç University Rahmi M. Koç Medal of Science, Professor Daron Acemoğlu from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T), surely does not need any introductions as he is world-renowned and is regarded as one of the most influential economists around the world.

The most significant innovations of the future will emerge at the intersection of humanities, natural sciences, engineering and medicine. Since the founding of Koç University, we have been focusing on interdisciplinary work. The number of our students pursuing double majors has recently greatly increased, and we encourage these students to make choices that are orthogonal to their majors, such as, an economics student double majoring in visual arts, or an engineering student double majoring in psychology. We provide every opportunity and encourage students in multiplicity of ways so that they can satisfy their enthusiasm and excitement.

Professor Daron Acemoğlu has opened up new horizons with his arguments at the very intersection of technology, social and natural sciences, as well as with his theories about the roots of inequality, which is one of the most important issues in the 21st century. In this context, Koç University Rahmi M. Koç Science Medal was presented to Prof. Daron Acemoğlu for his groundbreaking contributions to labor and political economics as well as macroeconomics of growth and development. I warmly congratulate Professor Acemoğlu, who was deemed worthy of several significant awards previously, and I once again emphasize that we shall always be close followers of his fruitful and outstanding work.

On November 12th, I joined tens of thousands of people who participated in the Eurasia Marathon, involving the crossing of the beautiful first bridge across the Bosphorus, by far the most beautiful straits of water on this planet. There were so many people walking/running for so many worthy causes, while myself and 120+ other people from Koç University participated in support of our Anatolian Scholarship program. I thank everyone who participated in this great activity. This was my second or third on-foot crossing of the bridge; it is majestic and greatly enjoyable every time.

Having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 36 years, my most favourite activity was to walk on the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge as often as I can. I wish it was possible to do so over the three bridges of Istanbul, but I can see and imagine the logistics/safety problems with a population of more than 15M.

Talking about the crossing of the Bosphorus, makes me fondly remember crossing of it under the water, through the rock 70 meters below the bottom of the sea, through the 4-m water pipe back in 2012. I am one of only a few people who have had a chance to do so before the pipe was filled with water, and I greatly enjoyed the adventure; I am thankful to my friends at State Water Works for providing me with this opportunity. (Please visit the website about the details of the project.)

My best wishes and regards to you all,

Umran Inan

/umransavasinan   /profumraninan


Professor Acemoğlu is the new recipient of the Koç University Rahmi M. Koç Medal of Science

Koç University Rahmi M. Koç Medal of Science, in its second year, was presented on November 22, 2017 in the fields of “Administrative Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities and Law” to Professor Daron Acemoğlu (M.I.T) for groundbreaking contributions to labor and political economics as well as macroeconomics of growth and development.

Professor Acemoğlu also gave an enlightening seminar “Robots and Jobs: Evidence from US Labor Markets” on the same day at SGKM.

We ran for the Anatolian Scholarship Program

This year, the 39th Istanbul Eurasia Marathon had a very different meaning for Koç University. Approximately 100 runners from faculty, staff and students of Koç University crossed continents to raise funds for the Anatolian Scholarship Program.

We would like to thank everyone who participated in this event, which we hope will become a Koç University tradition.

Your support has always been key in transforming the lives of our Anatolian Scholars.

VEKAM Awarded Gold Medal by Turkish Philatelic Association

The exhibition catalog of “Ottoman Empire from 19th to 20th Century: Struggle” prepared by Koç University VEKAM in cooperation with the Collectors' Association in 2015, was awarded Great Gold Medal and Special Prize in the category of “Literature Publication” by the Federation of Turkish Philatelic Association.