Koç University News & Announcements Bulletin

July 2019


The month of July this year was packed more than ever, due to the Feast of Sacrifice holiday in early August. For myself and for my colleagues, this month felt rather busier than our usual summer period where we may be able to either take some time off for vacation and/or for research. Nevertheless, we did experience one of the most fruitful and versatile periods of 2019 so far.

The all-important undergraduate student recruitment and placement period, which ended on July 29th, was shortened this year to 12 days, less than the usual two weeks. Once again, we had thousands of visitors, candidate students and families who had a chance to visit our wonderful campus, talk to our faculty members and Deans and listen to a host of presentations. Many of these visitors may not end up enrolling at Koç University; nevertheless, we strongly feel that our ‘rendezvous’ with them is an outstanding opportunity for us to orient these bright students in making healthy and well-founded choices, wherever they eventually decide to go. After all, the fact that these visitors are here means that they have scored high enough in the national exam to consider the opportunity to be placed at Koç University; that in turn means that they are within the top 5% of all high school graduates in the country!

My personal highlights of these fast-paced and exciting two weeks are the times when I get to stand every single day in front of a full house of eager families and student candidates at our Sevgi Gönül Cultural Center (SGKM), to share with them the vision of our university and to talk to them about what makes us different. My goal really is to try to orient them in the direction of making choices along the lines of what the young candidates are really excited and enthusiastic about, rather than being overly guided by the advice and direction of parents, siblings, friends and counselors or by the perceived employment opportunities in one field or another.

As part of my brief introductory remarks, I spell out in macroscopic detail the tremendous investment of the Vehbi Koç Foundation in our country via our university, both in terms of capital investment in our facilities and the generous financial contribution we receive every year for our operating budget. I talk about the deep sense of responsibility that myself and my colleagues feel in trying to utilize these resources in the most impactful way for our bright students so that we can best serve our country. I am so glad to observe that we are seeing the fruits of these investments as the profiles of students placed each year and of our graduates continue to get better. 

There is a ‘Groundhog-day’ effect in these gatherings, as I basically talk about the same stuff every day, albeit to completely different audiences. I repeatedly talk about our emphasis on providing a free environment guided only by the wants and wishes of students and faculty, minimizing central regulation and bureaucratic impediments to the pursuit of excellence. I tell our visitors that our vision is to gather excellent people and then ‘get out of their way’. People produce the best and the most when they are the freest, so all we really have to do is to provide and protect the free environment.

I am proud to be talking about our successes, whether it be in terms of the vigorous global search efforts for outstanding faculty members and the fact that many of the more than twenty positions for which we recruited this year were selected from a pool of 40 to 50 highly capable candidates, or the rising number of double-majors each year or the fact that literally half of the mega-grants (1.5 to 2.5M Euro each) in Turkey from the European Research Council are hosted at Koç University or that the exceptional rankings of our undergraduates or the richness of our student clubs.

One particular point I make every day is the tremendous success that our University has seen in the field of medicine in recent years. Koç University School of Medicine and Koç University Hospital continue to deliver extraordinary value, attracting the brightest and best students and generating many new research opportunities, while delivering exceptional healthcare to our people. I share my utmost belief that many of the developments with the highest social impact in the next 10 to 30 years will undoubtedly take place in the areas of the overlap of medicine, engineering, law, natural, social and administrative sciences. With this in mind, I emphasize that our university is the only institution in Turkey with a School of Medicine, surrounded by other top notch undergraduate and graduate schools, underscoring the importance of studying medicine at a university with other disciplines at the highest level, surely bringing a whole new perspective to university selection criteria. My feeling of pride about these accomplishments of our great institutions is accentuated even more by the admiration and respect on the many faces in the audience.

The question and answer session that is part of these events is always enjoyable and memorable, especially when excited and worried parents sometimes take it upon themselves to ask off-the-beat questions, even as the students sitting right next to them are obviously embarrassed by the exchange. Nevertheless, more often than not, I am pleased to see the student candidates in charge, asking questions with great self-confidence and poise, with parents listening on the side.

On a related note, a recent development, in a lot of ways, confirms all my underlying points of the high quality of our professors at KU. A few days ago, the The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) announced the results of its “International Fellowship for Outstanding Researchers” (coded 2232) call, which opened for proposals in late 2018 and aimed to invite researchers working at the world’s leading research institutions to Turkey. This new TÜBİTAK support scheme involves the highest budget in TÜBİTAK history awarded to a single researcher. We proudly observe that 14 scientists (out of 18) who applied to come to Koç University from abroad and carry out 3-year projects, have been selected to be funded under this program. Following Boğaziçi University (15 projects funded), Koç University, with its 14 projects, is the second most successful university in Turkey under this new scheme, together with Middle East Technical University (METU). Our success is particularly remarkable considering the relatively small size of our faculty compared to major state universities. We are extremely proud of these 14 researchers and congratulate them for this great accomplishment.

Our other excitement during this period is the selection of the Anatolian scholarship students who come from far corners of our beautiful country and who are quite successful in the national placement exam but are ranked just below the lowest rankings of placement at KU with full scholarship. This year, we were able to select no less than 107 students from among 6550 applicants from all around Anatolia. We are very grateful to our donors, both companies and people, who sponsor these bright-but-needy students. Since 2011, a total of 500 students were recruited to KU under this program and the placement of 107 students this year is thus a huge accomplishment, surpassing all of our targets, about which we are elated. The program has now acquired a truly national character, with a total number of 255 sponsoring companies supporting no less than 600 students! Our alumni classes provided enough funding to support 2 more new students, bringing their tally to 20, inching closer to our target of having a student for each graduating class. I thank our alumni for their generous support and hope to see growing participation on their part in this program.

I cannot help but think that as the majority of our 107 new students will graduate in 2024, we may be offering the most meaningful gift to our Republic at the beginning of its second centennial. I am certain that our new Anatolian Scholars will make us all proud as the leaders of our tomorrows. 

As usual, we now wait for the placement results with anticipation and excitement, and we eagerly look forward to meeting and welcoming our new incoming class!

In July, we also commemorated those who have bravely lost their lives to protect our republic and our democracy during the coup d'état attempt against our government on July 15, 2016 and we offer our heartfelt condolences to their families and loved ones and also express our respects for those brave citizens who were wounded in the course of resisting this uprising. On behalf of our entire university community, we once again strongly condemn this loathsome act against our democracy and the free will of our people.

At Koç University, we are determined to protect and preserve our republic, our democracy, our country and our future by working our hardest to capture excellence in education and in scientific research and to thereby pioneer the elevation of the standards of living of our country and our people.

Best wishes and regards to you all,

Umran Inan



New Koç University Video – LivePlayStudy

Our brand-new video captures many different elements of student life via a wide variety of activities on campus. We hope you get inspired by these snapshots of life here at campus, where you live, play and study. What makes the video even more special is that it is a production of our own MAVA department; Ali Vatansever as Director, Onur Gürkan as Cinematographer, Jiyan Erincik as the Hyperlapse Photographer, Dilha Naz Uğur as Production Manager and our very talented students as Cast.

2019 Undergraduate Student Recruitment and Placement Period

Throughout the last two weeks in July, hundreds of prospective students and their families visited Rumelifeneri Campus for the annual recruitment and placement period, offering them an opportunity to learn more about our University, meet faculty members and visit the campus.

We wish them all the very best in their future university life.

Koç University Annual Report

We are pleased to share with you Koç University’s Annual Report that presents our extensive activities, outstanding research projects and achievements during the period of May 2018-May 2019.

Open Day for Prospective International Students

July 5th marked the first time Koç University organized an Open Day for prospective international students, similar to the “Tanıtım Günleri” activities organized every year for prospective Turkish applicants. Nearly 20 students from abroad and Turkey attended the full day event and had a chance to sit through sample lectures, go to a guided campus tour and engage with students and staff.