MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Dear Members of the Koç University Community,
As September comes to a close, we not only welcome the beautiful manifestations of the fall season in İstanbul and at our campus with its wonderful colors, but also welcome and embrace more than 1000 new undergraduates, hundreds of new MA/MS/PhD students and tens of new faculty and staff joining our Koç University community.
Undergraduate placement results for 2018 indicate that our university has once again captured an outstanding student profile. The number of students from the top 100, 500, 1000, 5000, and 10000 rankings has increased compared to 2017. This year, 44% of our students are from the top 20000, 63% are from the top 50000, and 80% are from the top 100000 in terms of rankings in the national placement exam (YKS). Koç University thus continues its leadership position among universities in our country by hosting a very highly & diverse student profile. Our new faculty members were recruited through worldwide searches, each being chosen via a highly competitive process from among tens of applicants. Our new MA/MS/PhD students were also selected from among many applicants with the highest criteria of excellence. How lucky and blessed we are to have the opportunity to work with such a bright cadre of students and faculty!
We held our Orientation during the week of September 10, where we introduced our school to new comers. Here are a few thoughts reflecting upon my meeting with the new undergraduate Class of 2022, which I shared with them in my welcoming address:
Our most basic premise is that people produce the best and the most when they are the freest. We thus strive to hire the best faculty, recruit the best students and then create/maintain the freest environment in which they can be the most productive, creative and successful. In this context, it is important that we do not limit ourselves by our preconceived rights/wrongs, and unnecessary central rules/regulations, but rather simply let great things happen by ‘getting out of the way’. We want our students and faculty to strive to find and pursue what feels right for them, to embark on their journey without fear, as the only way to find your true self is to listen to your inner voice.
We see university education as a rendezvous, or an appointment if you will, between generations. My colleagues and I work hard to make this appointment as exciting, informative, fulfilling and productive as possible for our students. We strive to learn/teach together with our students so that we can maximize the dialogue among the generations in this ‘appointment’ of ours, for the benefit of both generations.
The transition from ages 18 to 22 for our undergraduates is key to self-discovery and sets the foundation of who they are to be and how they will setup their lives; it is the period of life where one begins to realize likes, dislikes and compromises.
Being a Koç University student also puts upon a great responsibility on your shoulders. In order for us to improve our great school, we need your feedback and your participation, so that together we can make this institution the best that it can be. Give us feedback, write to us, email us, complain or praise but always share your thoughts.
I know graduation for many of you still loom sometime far away in the future, but as cliché as it sounds, time passes by fast. So always be reminded that each day you spend here, you may leave behind your own mark. Our connection with you essentially continues forever. So long as Koç University exists, we shall be a part of your lives, and you shall be a part of ours. We cherish and treasure all our students and alumni.
After an exciting Orientation Week, the school year started at full force on September 17th with several of us in the university administration paying our respects to our founder, the late Mr. Vehbi Koç, by visiting his gravesite. Every year as we do so, I feel intense admiration and appreciation and I am overwhelmed with a great sense of responsibility of the amazing gift that he has bestowed upon our nation in founding our University, which his Family and Foundation continue to support so very generously. We must always remember our solemn duty to pursue excellence in education and scientific research, as our institution is truly unique and above all, serves and exists as a beacon of hope for our country, as an example for others to follow.
September is the ‘back to school’ month, not only for new faculty, students and staff but also for alumni. Homecoming has become a great tradition for our alumni to get together on our wonderful campus and reminisce their time at our university. Homecoming on September 9th was again a beautiful celebration where our graduates, growing in numbers each year, enjoyed the activities, food kiosks and later a concert. We also held the ‘Time Capsule’ ceremony for the graduating class of 2018. The commemorative ‘Time Capsules’, prepared for each graduating class and placed on the concrete ledge surrounding the ‘College Green’ grass area, hold all kinds of memorabilia from each class and its contents are photographed and exhibited on the project web page. This tradition started exactly a year ago is garnering the attention we had hoped for and shall continue to embrace all of our alumni, past, present and future for many more years to come.
For close to a year and half, we have been building up to our 25th anniversary. The day has finally come. We shall close off our celebrations with a final bang on October 4th, the 25th anniversary of the 'first lecture' delivered by our founder Vehbi Koç. Please make sure to follow the day’s schedules that have been sent out via various emails throughout this month.
The 25th year projects remaining for September were a classical music concert and Istinye Campus Reunion. We had the pleasure of hosting Güher & Süher Pekinel sisters, twin Turkish prodigies of classical music, with world renowned orchestra conductor Howard Griffiths and their concert was truly a feast to our ears.
Another 25th year event took place on our first campus, a dear place to many of our faculty and alumni, ‘a place where it all started’ as I repeatedly heard from many attendees at the Istinye Campus Reunion. Under the shade of trees and a beautiful night sky, with alumni and faculty, many who started their careers there, we had stories from the past and had a chance to talk to some of our oldest alumni. It was a fitting celebration of the history and legacy of our university as well as a nice tease for our final upcoming celebration on October 4th.
May this Academic Year be full of health, happiness and success for all of us . . .
My best wishes and regards to you all,