MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
April on our beautiful campus is truly special, with the cherry tree (Sakura) blossoms displaying their beauty in full, albeit for a very short time, and the greenery of the many other trees around us are somehow fresher, brighter and crisper. The sounds of our many birds are more beautiful as they also welcome the spring season in their own way. I hope at least some of you are following my tweets (@umransavasinan) with beautiful campus photos and videos . . . Much of the botanic beauty around our campus is due to our gardener of 20 years, Muhlis Kılıçoğlu, who is one of the unsung heroes of our campus.
My wife and I always look forward to April as the time during which our fantastic student clubs exhibit their wonderful performances in the Sevgi Gönül Auditorium, after having worked hard to prepare for months. As this year is special with the 25th Year celebrations, we have had wonderful musical performances from Turkish Folk Music and Turkish Classical Music Clubs, who included favorite songs of our founder, the late Vehbi Koç, in their repertories. We also watched wonderful performances during the Theater Days and enjoyed again a highly entertaining performance from our musical club, all of which were truly outstanding.
As an example of another great activity of our students, the KU Volunteers Club, which is one of our most active student clubs with close to 400 members, did a wonderful spin on their traditional library project. Each year, KU Volunteers Club goes to different provinces of Turkey to build libraries (total of 18 so far) in elementary schools. This year, our KU volunteers were in Aydın to build the library in Bozdoğan Mürşide Akçay Elementary School in 25 hours, to celebrate the 25th year of our university. It was a huge feat as they did not sleep for more than 24 hours but worked incessantly to complete the project in time!
As our 25th year celebrations picked up full steam, I kick started (in this case literally) the 25th year soccer tournament. The first couple of days were a bit difficult with clouds and rain, but with more sunny weather, our players enjoyed the tournament as much as the spectators. 28 teams, 23 of which were comprised of students and 5 of which were comprised of our staff from various departments, competed very fairly and the hardest working team was, at the end, the winner. The winner was of course one of the student teams, since our staff teams simply could not match the physical condition of the young students. As I always say, even though we work for the end reward, the effort to get there and the will to succeed is really the ultimate gain. I congratulate all of the teams for their participation and efforts.
Same is definitely true for the annual 8-man rowing race between Koç University and Kadir Has University that took place on April 14th. Former Kadir Has President Mustafa Aydın and myself initiated this competition 7 years ago to emulate the traditional Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge Universities that was started back in 1829, and it is nice to see that the race has now become a great tradition and an opportunity to celebrate sportsmanship. This year, the event even attracted the attention of the British Consul General Judith Slater, a former rower herself, who honored the event with her presence. I congratulate our hard-working team who wake up at 04:00 to 05:00 am in the morning to practice in every weather condition. The tally for the traditional race at this time is Koç winning the first three and Kadir Has winning the last four, including the one on April 14, 2018. I congratulate all rowers from both sides who participated in the event.
Our fundraising activities were also full speed ahead as we are getting closer to our deadline of the end of June for the Anatolian Scholarship Program. I continued my quest around Turkey, this time in Adana. On April 10th, I visited the Adana Chamber of Industry (ADASO), to attend a gathering of about 12 industry leaders of this great town, organized by the Head of ADASO Mr. Zeki Kıvanç. It was a very productive and interesting meeting that lasted 2+ hours, where I made a presentation about Koç University and answered many questions from the participants. I was pleased to see the depth/breadth of interest in Koç University on the part of these leaders of local industry. We made great strides in exploring potential partnerships in the contexts of R&D and our Anatolian Scholarship program aimed at securing support for bright-but-needy students from Adana. I am truly thankful to ADASO for hosting my visit in such an excellent way, including a dinner involving (what else?) a delightful portfolio of different kinds of ‘Adana Kebab’.
I had a very enjoyable evening gathering with about 50-60 of our alumni on April 3rd, at the alumni club inside our ANAMED building. Our bond with alumni is getting stronger each year as the number of our graduates is now in excess of twelve thousand. The gathering was very productive with useful dialogue and exchange of ideas with alumni who are currently involved in our 25th Year fundraising drive. It is great to see that our Alumni Association is more active and integrated with our school, building a strong bridge between the alumni and the university. Our Alumni office is in constant and intense contact with our alumni via email, meetings and other events, especially this year in the context of our 25th Year efforts.
The very busy month of April wrapped up with our General Faculty and Staff Meeting on April 27th when we celebrated those who have shown the kind of dedication and commitment that have deserved our Awards this year. The Faculty Outstanding Teaching Awards allow us to acknowledge the effort, experience and time put into quality teaching. The Outstanding Service Awards this year included awardees from among our faculty and administrative staff being rewarded for their many special outstanding contributions. We wholeheartedly congratulate all of our Award recipients and wish them continued success in their careers.
April 27th was also the date of the presentation of the annual BAGEP awards given by the Science Academy to young scientists. With 10 of our faculty members receiving 10 of the 39 Awards presented, we were all full of great pride as each of them got up on the podium to receive their Awards either from myself or from one of our Deans.
Upcoming month of May looks to be full of several other 25th Year events, our Spring Festival and the end of classes, as we rapidly move towards completing another Academic Year . . .Let us try to enjoy it all as time goes by faster than we can blink . . .
Best wishes and regards to you all,