Koç University News & Announcements Bulletin

January 2019


Dear Members of the Koç University Community,

Time flies faster than any of us can keep up with it . . . Here we are again in January, amazingly of 2019, a year which such a short time ago looked to be so far in the future . . . As January once again marks the beginning of the year for all of us, we are filled with a certain contentment as it also marks the end of the Fall Semester, with a 2 to 3-week Semester Break. Students, faculty and staff anticipate the semester break during which some of us take vacations to spend a quieter time with loved ones while others grab it as a great opportunity to catch up with research, projects and other things that are harder to do in the midst of regular classes during the busy semester.

Personally, I am looking forward to starting 2019 by teaching my ELEC206/PHYS302: Electromagnetism course, as I do every Spring Semester. I greatly enjoy my classroom dialogue with typically 75 to 80 students, teaching and learning electromagnetic theory using my own textbook. For me, there is nothing more enjoyable than being in class, responding to the curiosities of and interacting with bright young students. I would like to teach more classes and more often; unfortunately, my duties as President overwhelm my schedule day in and day out.

This year, marking an important milestone as Vehbi Koç Foundation (VKV) celebrates its 50th anniversary, kicked off with a video this month, and will continue with a series of more events. It is pleasing to see our beautiful campus prominently featured in this movie covering the whole spectrum of the work of the Foundation. If you have not done so already, please take a look at the video.

The motto that the Foundation has embraced in celebrating its centennial roughly translates to ‘the onus is on us' (‘üstümüze vazife’), which is just so very fitting to this unique Foundation that is second-to-none in Turkey and our region. When I was recently asked what these words meant to me, two things came to my mind. First, what a wonderful story is the journey of life and the business career of the late Vehbi Koç, culminating in the founding of the Vehbi Koç Foundation with its impact in Turkey over half a century on education, culture, and healthcare. The second thought that sprang to my mind is how lucky and blessed we are with the unwavering and generous support of the VKV. I have a very nice picture of our founder Vehbi Koç right above my desk in my office, behind my monitor. Every single day I look at it many times and think about how he would have wanted me to govern as the President of this wonderful institution. At the time of the founding of our university 25 years ago, he bestowed a mission for Koç University that carries on the tradition of his Foundation by promising “to cultivate well-rounded individuals, who can think creatively, independently and objectively” and to consistently strive “to advance knowledge through its efforts and to serve Turkey and humanity as a model of institutional excellence.” This lofty mission is also a challenging responsibility.

Vehbi Koç Foundation truly transformed and changed Turkey on so many levels, under the leadership of first Suna Kıraç and then Semahat Arsel who only think of the well-being of our country. Myself and my colleagues at the university administration are the current custodians of the generous resources provided to us and we are motivated and driven by the charge our Founder has given to us to use the resources of the Foundation as effectively, as frugally and as meaningfully as possible. Only when we do that can we ensure that had Vehbi Koç lived, he would have been happy and proud of the successes of Koç University. However, as so eloquently put by Semahat Arsel on many occasions, our Founder would also have closely observed the expenditures of the university and would have said, “Don’t go over budget, money doesn’t fall from the sky.” We can only ensure that we are indeed worthy of his great investment when we make all our students get the best education possible, enjoy campus life to the fullest, become fully developed individuals with ideals, and with a zest to help others. Another important commitment is our unrelentless quest for the better, getting the best faculty, doing the deepest and most impactful research and going after the many unknowns, waiting to be discovered. Our commitment to research has manifested itself, especially more recently, with the Koç University Hospital, our state-of-the-art teaching and research hospital, opened in 2014 on the Health Sciences Campus in Topkapı, again thanks to the tremendous support of our Foundation where profits generated by the American Hospital are fully transferred to Koç University, thereby not only creating financial synergy between the Foundation's healthcare institutions, but also creating a very valuable pool of human resources and knowledge.

On a sad note, January 21st was the third anniversary of the untimely passing away of the late Mustafa V. Koç, Chairman of the Board of Koç Holding. The explosive growth of Koç Holding during his tenure provided the financial basis for generous support of our university by the Vehbi Koç Foundation during the past decade, thus enabling us to excel as an institution. Mustafa Bey was a most warm and embracing person, at peace with himself and always supportive of others, and we shall continue to miss him. We are proceeding along on our plans of establishing the Koç University Mustafa V. Koç Center for Maritime Archaeology, to honor him and his passion for diving and nautical archaeology and to explore the greatest treasures of culture and archaeology buried under the beautiful coasts of Anatolia. Two new faculty members hired precisely for this purpose are now in our Department of Archaeology and History of Art and will be spearheading this effort. 

Upon all these reflections, our path as an institution is crystal clear for 2019 as it was in recent years; the best way to live and honor the founder of our institution, Vehbi Koç, is to do our level best to raise the standards in our country and our region, to set an example of outstanding excellence in education, and generation and dissemination of scientific knowledge. With clarity of thought and purpose, we shall strive to do so with passion and with unrelenting perseverance.

My best wishes and regards to you all,

Umran Inan



EÇADEM moved to its new location

Koç University Support Center for Disabled Children and their Families (EÇADEM) moved to its new building located in Yeniköy. The center held an opening ceremony on December 3rd, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in its new home.

“Reduced Inequalities Award” to Anatolian Scholarship Program

Koç University Anatolian Scholarship Program received the “Reduced Inequalities Award” at the 10th Social Responsibility Summit Sustainable Development Academy Awards for its activities and initiatives that contribute to the 10th goal of UN Sustainable Development Goals: Reduced Inequalities.

Koç University releases its second UN Global Compact Report

Koç University signed the United Nations Global Compact in November 2007. Now entering the twelfth year of the agreement, Koç University continues its support for the United Nations Global Compact and its ten principles. Co-created by our Communications Office and KUSIF, “Communication on Engagement Report 2016-18” provides an overview of the manner by which Koç University puts these principles into practice.