Last year this time we were faced with so many uncertainties and frequent disruptions; with a wave of COVID-19 still breathing on our necks, we had to switch to online delivery of classes for a short period during the remainder of the Fall 2021 Semester and the first 2 weeks of the Spring 2022 Semester.
We are fortunate to have a much clearer start to this year, without COVID-19 looming over our heads, a first in a long period of 3 years . . . A refreshing start indeed, even though the seasonal flu and many other viruses seem to temporarily knock many of us down . . .
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.
At the start of this very special year of the 100th year of the Founding of our Republic, we are looking forward to the many precious times sprinkled throughout the year during which we are to be filled with pride and joy. Our faculty members are undoubtedly set to continue to break new records this year in publishing outstanding papers, securing new sponsored research grants, and receiving new awards and recognitions, cementing our position even further as a top research university in Türkiye and the region. Our students are destined to excel in their academic and social endeavors at our university and improve themselves as young adults. Our hard working and dedicated staff are to provide services at the highest levels to help run this wonderful institution.
These thoughts also bring us to our Vehbi Koç Foundation (VKV), which is celebrating its 53rd year as a unique foundation that is second-to-none in Türkiye and our region. Their unwavering support shows us how lucky we are to be a part of such a strong entity. The university administration, as the current custodians of the generous resources provided for us, is thankful and motivated and is driven by the charge that our Founder has given to us to continue to use the resources of the Foundation as effectively, frugally, meaningfully, and impactfully as possible.
On a much sadder note, January 21st was the seventh anniversary of the untimely passing away of the late Mustafa V. Koç, Chairman of the Board of Koç Holding. Mustafa Bey was always an unrelenting, unconditional and generous supporter of our university . . . As we mourn his passing and always remember him with respect and deep affection, please take inspiration from a man who had to leave us so very soon.
A new year and new beginnings are always exciting. Many of us set resolutions, create wish lists, make promises to ourselves. With this excitement, here is what can be said of the year ahead . . . Our country and the world at large are set to surely see challenges, uncertainties, and obstacles; as we observe and participate in many advances in technology, science that make huge impact on our lives, we are to also see many injustices, inequalities, gaps in many areas such as income and access to education. Despite such a forecast for 2023 that might sound bleak, our mission, thus bestowed upon us by our founders more than 30 years ago, to cultivate well-rounded individuals, who can think creatively, independently, and objectively, remains the same as we consistently strive to advance knowledge and to serve Türkiye and humanity. Our path as an institution is crystal clear for 2023 as it has always been; the best way to live and honor the founder of our Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and 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 strive to do so with passion and with unrelenting perseverance.
And what could be a better year than 2023 where we are fully immersed in acknowledging the centennial of our Republic . . . We have many exciting events lined up to recognize and fully celebrate - the 100th year of our sacred Republic throughout the year, with everything we do, every mountain we climb, every achievement we realize at this wonderful university . . .
We wish all of you a relaxing and enjoyable Semester Break . . .