MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Feast of Sacrifice Holiday in August this year presented that rare opportunity to be away from campus, when one can literally unplug and rest the mind. However, with our mobile devices forever connected to us, it is still hard to completely isolate oneself from the University, and from the on goings around the world.
I spent part of the second half of August visiting at Stanford with my colleagues to look at the brand new and exciting data set that is now coming down from our DSX satellite experiment that was launched by the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in late June. It is so incredibly satisfying to see this fantastic data on the electromagnetic wave environment of our planet, brought down in exactly the ways we imagined by the unique instrument that my group designed and built at Stanford way back during 2002-2005, 15+ years ago! No one is left of my research group except for my now friend and former PhD student who graduated back in 1996. Nevertheless, we are able to look at this exciting new data and shall do exciting new science with it.
While in California, I also had an opportunity to vacation for a couple of weeks in La Jolla, San Diego, a marvelous place with its great ocean beaches and so many natural parks and other places to visit with family. Being in the west coast also allowed me to visit my mother, who is currently staying with my brother and family in Portland, Oregon. Portland is another one of those gems of the United States west coast, a beautiful town surrounded by great little lakes hidden among the forests and kept forever green by the beautiful Columbia and Willamette rivers.
Even though the second half of the month was without the rustle and bustle of on-campus days, the first half was quite busy with a few exciting noteworthy news.
The undergraduate placement results for 2019 were announced and I am happy to observe that our university has once again captured a strong student profile. All of our announced quota of 1224 has been filled and 29 students from the top 100, 117 from top 500, 157 from top 1000, 334 from top 5000, and 417 from top 10000 rankings have been placed at Koç University. This year, 41% of the students are from the top 20000, 56% are from the top 50000, and 75% are from the top 100000 in terms of rankings in the national placement exam. These placements, in spite of significant modifications in our scholarship distributions and our quotas in some departments, underscore the robust and long-lasting nature of our performance and profile. As we continue to develop our scholarship ratios and our quotas to improve our student profile, Koç University shall continue its leadership position among universities in our country by hosting the most successful student profile.
I am also very happy to announce that in our 7th year of participating in the ‘The Most Successful Koç Employees’ award program, celebrating best practices within the entirety of the Koç Group companies, our university has not come empty handed. In the Creative Innovators (‘Yaratıcı Yenilikçiler’) category, TARABIOS- The Device For Diagnosis From A Drop Of Blood project, developed in our Optical Microsystems Laboratory in collaboration with KUTTAM, won the top prize and the Milkrun 3.0 project in the Collaboration category, developed together with Arçelik and Zer, won the second prize. This record surely sets the bar quite high for the future, but I see these awards and recognitions as accolades on our quest to be a center of excellence as an institution. I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of standing together with our teams on that stage each year, in front of the top management of the Koç Group. I wholeheartedly congratulate both teams for their exemplary work and for representing Koç University with great success in this highly competitive awards program and thank them on behalf of all of you.
In my newsletters, I also cover new developments that will enhance and strengthen our status globally. We have been quite successful in engaging with international universities, creating highly productive partnerships all around the globe. As a key component of our internationalization strategy, these partnerships not only create opportunities for knowledge transfer but also allow our faculty and students to work and study with peers from various countries.
One such collaboration is the Joint Research Seed Fund with Renmin University of China. The Koç-Renmin Strategic Seed Fund is to support the cultivation or expansion of research collaborations to address global challenges and to contribute to international development at both universities. The scheme is intended to facilitate substantive research collaborations, with bids expected to result in tangible outputs, such as publications and grant applications, within two years of an award.
Another very exciting collaboration is between Koç University and China University of Political Sciences and Law (CUPL), where a new cooperation agreement provides scholarships to selected CUPL students admitted to Koç University’s Master’s in Law (LLM) in Private or Public Law from the 2020-21 academic year going forward. This agreement represents a new opportunity for our University to diversify its international student body with talented students from one of China’s most reputable universities in the social sciences and humanities.
Last but not least is our joint Master’s Program in Public Policy with the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow over two semesters, with a dynamic international curriculum that broadens the overall perspective of students, who are to spend one semester in Istanbul and one semester in Glasgow.
We were greatly saddened by the sudden passing away of our dear friend and colleague Professor John McArthur, a longtime member of our Board of Overseers, on August 20th. Professor John McArthur was one of the most well-known and admired Deans of Harvard University. As the Dean of the Harvard Business School (HBS), he had helped raise the HBS to become one of the most admired institutions in the world. He also supported Koç University from its very foundation for many years, provided scholarships, and helped raise the recognition of both the University and Turkey in the wider world. I would like to take this opportunity to once again convey our sincere condolences to members of his grieving family on behalf of all members of the Koç University community. During my tenure as President, I have tremendously benefited from his wise and piercing counsel and always felt his generous support of everything we do at Koç University, which he deeply cared about. In fact, his personal donations to the university enabled us to support one Anatolian Scholarship student who is starting this year as the ‘John & Natty McArthur Fellow’. A detailed obituary about his life and tremendous achievements can be found here. May God bless his soul and may he rest in Peace in Heaven.
As the month of August came to an end, we celebrated August 30th Victory Day, giving us a chance to once again remember the sacred importance of the Republic that has been entrusted to us by Mustafa Kemal ATATÜRK. We know the onus is on us to do our level best to excel in education and be pioneers in science for our nation and we work our hardest to do so in every breadth and step we take.
September is already here and promises to be as exciting as ever, with the upcoming kick off of our annual Homecoming, bringing together our alumni and their loved ones. We also look forward to our ‘Time Capsule’ ceremony for our newly minted class of 2019 on the ‘alumni pathway’, which should be another joyous and emotional event. With Orientation Days coming a few days later, our campus will be abuzz with anticipation of the coming academic year of 2019-2020. We are also looking forward to welcoming more than 25 new faculty members joining us this year, across the range of Colleges & Schools.
Best wishes and regards to you all,