November this year was full of moments where we emphasized our focus on research, on how it has elevated us to our current standing and the opportunities it presents for our future.


As we inch closer to our third decade, we have many things to be proud of and to look forward to ...We are on the cusp of extraordinary developments and our fast march towards excellence in education and scientific research may only accelerate in the next few years. Just as our institution developed extremely rapidly during the past decade to emerge as the best ‘Research University’ in our country and our region with the extraordinary growth of research productivity at our university, our vision for the next decade harbors yet another giant leap from where we are now.


Right at the start of the month, we held a ceremony where Koç University was officially accredited for 5 years by the Higher Education Quality Board (YÖKAK), as the top one among the 5 universities that received full accreditation for 5 years out of a total of 60 universities that applied for the accreditation. This accreditation, given for the first time in Turkey, is surely an acknowledgment of the high-quality work that our talented faculty and staff undertake to raise the standard of research, teaching and innovation across so many fields of study. Although we are here to do the best research and provide the best education possible to our students, regardless of accreditations, such recognitions surely contribute to our academic reputation. During the ceremony, we had a chance to summarize our work and our efforts on research, as well as the standing of our University on various fronts and describe an exciting future outlook to an audience including the President and members of YÖKAK and our own faculty, staff and students.


November continued with a most important solemn observance and remembrance where we mourned the Founder of our Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who passed away 83 years ago. This year we held our traditional ceremony simultaneously face-to-face by the bust of Ataturk and online, with a large group of members of our community joining us physically and virtually for one minute of silence and respect at the call of the siren at 09:05 am.


The traditional Koç Group tribute to Atatürk this year conveyed an authentic and moving incident about Atatürk and showed the connection between being a leader who will be remembered for evermore, and a sensitivity shown to all significant global issues, and decisions taken with courage.


Even though November 10th is a day of mourning, in exactly 2 weeks from that day, we had a great opportunity to remember and celebrate Atatürk as the Teacher of all teachers on November 24th, Teachers Day, recognizing once again his vision and the importance he attributed to education, especially of young minds. Teacher's day is celebrated on different days in different countries. The story of how our celebration of November 24 came about is quite inspiring and moving. This date, which was celebrated for the first time in Turkey in 1981, the centennial of Atatürk's birth, is the date when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk accepted the post of Head Teacher of National Schools on November 24, 1928, thus becoming the Teacher of all teachers.


For both of us, who have been teachers all our lives and who still continue to learn from our peers, students, teams on a daily basis, being members of this sacred profession has been and still is a true privilege. We take this opportunity to recognize all our past teachers who have contributed immensely to our development as students and individuals and who have touched us in our own education. We also recognize our colleagues who, regardless of the circumstances and without compromise, never fail to sustain the appointment between generations and always strive to learn while teaching.


We wrapped up the month with the Koç University Rahmi M. Koç Medal of Science Ceremony, surely one of the most memorable times of the year for our university and a very fitting bookend to a month where our discussions and focus revolved around our commitment to science and research. The Medal program was created to celebrate and encourage relatively young scientists, and is given one year in 'Science, Engineering and Medicine' and the subsequent year in 'Social and Administrative Sciences, Humanities and Law'. The program also celebrates the contributions to our institution of our Honorary Chairman Rahmi M. Koç, while also recognizing the outstanding position that Koç University has now attained as a comprehensive ‘Research University’, and as a beacon of excellence in education and scientific research in our region.


The most significant innovations of the future are to emerge at the intersection of medicine with engineering, natural sciences, social and administrative sciences, humanities, and law. The emphasis at Koç University on interdisciplinary work, on greater collaboration, diversity, and global connectedness, and the associated de-emphasis of hierarchy and established norms represents a huge shift away from how universities used to operate just a couple of decades ago. But these changes may pale in comparison with upcoming revolutions in scientific understanding that have started to be measured not in centuries and decades but in years and months. New disciplines are born by the day and old ones resurface in unexpected new partnerships and fields.


Our previous 5 recipients could not have been better examples of such intersections and visionaries in their respective fields. They are indeed destined to be the drivers of the next revolution to carry our societies through the 21st century.


Our new recipient is once again a very bright scientist, whose work is focused on empirically assessing the efficiency of markets, while utilizing detailed micro-level data from the markets d to estimate preference and technology parameters that rationalize individual behavior.


2021 Koç University Rahmi M. Koç Medal of Science was presented to Prof. Ali Hortaçsu from University of Chicago for his outstanding contributions in the area of market efficiency, rational behavior, and auction models.


On a final note, let us take this opportunity and state once again that we are truly proud of each of the recipients who have been so worthy of this accolade and who are extraordinary scientists and wonderful, positive people.


We seem to be moving into yet another difficult winter in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. With the high vaccination levels and extra measures we have taken on our campuses, we are in a safe place as we continue to navigate through our daily lives. COVID-19 has stripped us of many of our rituals, traditions and core activities and still continues to disrupt and interrupt our lives; however, we are at a better place than we were the year before and we all hope that come springtime, we may start to enjoy many of the activities we have been deprived of since the beginning of 2020.


We ask all of you to take care of yourselves and your loved ones during these still challenging times.


We extend our best regards to you all, together with our best wishes for success, health and happiness.


Zeynep Gürhan Canlı

Acting President

Vice President for Academic Affairs

Umran İnan

Advisor to the Board of Trustees