December 2022 turned out to be one of our busiest months, as we were able to get together, combining both the intimate and exciting sentiment of finally being face to face, on several wonderful and meaningful occasions.

We held our second General Faculty & Staff Meeting of the academic year at the start of the month. These meetings always give us an opportunity to share our long-term vision and objectives for the current year to celebrate important developments and successes of our faculty, and to present other news about the wonderful things that happen on our different campuses.

As we now have done for many years at our December meetings, we also presented Outstanding Faculty Awards, celebrating the wonderful work of our faculty and their contribution to scientific research and development. This year, in recognition of their long-standing work in their respective areas from all disciplines, their robust research projects and many high impact publications, we recognized two colleagues for their overall contribution with the President’s Award, while also presenting Outstanding Faculty Awards to nine members of our faculty from different Colleges and Schools. We wholeheartedly congratulate all our recipients for their extraordinary research and wish them continued success.

We continued with quite a joyful event with the Koç University Seniority Awards. In its fifth year of recognizing 10, 15, 20 and 25 years of service, this ceremony has indeed become a special occasion for our staff and faculty. Celebrating a significant anniversary of employment at an institution marks an important milestone for both the individual and the institution. The success of our institution is very much dependent on having devoted and capable members and we wish our awardees of this year many more years at our wonderful university. We would like to take this opportunity once again to thank all those who received their respective seniorities for their commitment to this institution.

We also held our year end appreciation dinner, that we had to forego due to COVID during the past two years. It was such a joyous event; to be together at the newly of each other renovated Kuruçeşme Divan where we enjoyed the presence of each other amid a wonderful Bosphorus view with a record participation of 750+ colleagues. Dancing and music continued live until nearly midnight, and it looked like everyone was surely having so much fun . . .

We also received great news on the last days of the month, of Assoc. Prof. Mehmet Cengiz Onbaşlı from the College of Engineering being awarded the “TÜBİTAK Encouragement Award” given by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK). Our University maintains its leading position with the highest number of TÜBİTAK Awards received since the inception of the program.

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 year where our discussions and focus revolved around our commitment to and successes in scientific 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'.

Our wonderful university was founded along the lines of the outstanding vision of the late Vehbi Koç, with uncompromising and insistent hard work of the late Suna Kıraç and has enjoyed unequaled support from the Vehbi Koç Foundation, under the Chairpersonship of Ms. Semahat Arsel.   For the first 23 years of Koç University, Rahmi M. Koç served as the Chairman of our Board of Trustees, providing guidance and sustained support for the development of this university over the past 29 years. The Medal program thus celebrates the contributions to our institution of our Honorary Chairman of the Board of Trustees Mr. 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 6 recipients of the Rahmi Koç Medal of Science 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 2022 recipient is also a very bright scientist, whose work sheds light on both the present and the future, thanks to her innovative contributions to and her groundbreaking work in energy and material sciences, among the most important issues of our time.

2022 Koç University Rahmi M. Koç Medal of Science was presented to Prof. Bilge Yıldız from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for her seminal contributions to the understanding and design of novel surface chemistries, materials for efficient and durable electrochemical energy conversion, and energy-efficient ionic computing devices.

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.

Bottleneck years of COVID-19 have now passed, and we do see a huge surge in our research endeavors as previously stated on numerous occasions. It is quite satisfying to see that acceleration and to see our university coming out of those hard years stronger than ever is a really encouraging note to end the year. Here are a few highlights from the past year . . .

In these first days of the New Year, we look forward to 2023, which not only harbors unique challenges but also offers many opportunities. With the centennial celebration of our Republic carved in our minds, we do indeed have many reasons to celebrate. The 100th year Logo for Koç University says it all; we are all set to recognize the 100th year of our sacred Republic throughout the 100th year, with everything we do at this wonderful university . . .

With best regards to you all, together with best wishes for success, good health, and much happiness.