Korea University: Korea University celebrates its 117th anniversary and hosts the KU Alumni Day ceremony

On its 117th anniversary, Korea University and the KU Alumni hosted a commemorative celebration as well as various events for local residents.

As the university’s anniversary and Children’s Day in Korea fall on the same day, the university invited local residents to the campus and provided them with a variety of experience programs in order to fulfill its social role as a university that is imbricated with the community around it.

The events for local residents commenced at 10 a.m. throughout the campus. They included quizzes and experiential programs that were related to making a social contribution; VR/AR and hands-on creative experiences; a tour of the broadcasting facilities on campus, and of the experience zone run by startups on campus; pungmul, busking, jazz, and mask dance performances by student clubs; practice sessions for Korea University’s cheering songs and dances; a calligraphy experience program; museum and library tours; the Alumni Association Bazaar; sports programs led by five student sports clubs; a graduation photo shoot; 1:1 admissions counseling; and health checkups and counseling offered by the Korea University Medical Center.

The quiz activities were designed to raise people’s awareness of the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) values and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pursued by the university. The VR/AR and 3D printing experience programs were held at π-ville and Makerspace. The university also provided an opportunity for local residents to familiarize themselves with its cutting-edge broadcasting system and to visit its museum. The Korea University Library exhibited 50 classic texts, and provided visitors with book-making classes and guided tours.

Startup companies on campus provided opportunities for people to experience their latest products firsthand, and handed out gifts to them. Students from five sports clubs at Korea University hosted baseball, basketball, ice hockey, rugby, and soccer experience programs for children. Korea University admissions officers provided 1:1 counseling and guidance to students who wish to enter the university in relation to the university’s 2023 admission process, the 2022 admission results, the comprehensive student record evaluation system, the departments in the university, and graduates’ current employment status. The Korea University Medical Center offered free health check-ups and consultations for local residents, and held an event using photo models of male and female doctors. Finally, various traditional cultural experience programs such as beoseon making, jegi making, and traditional gold leaf plating drew the attention of visitors.

At the anniversary celebration, the following awards were bestowed on those who have contributed to the development of Korea University: the Proud Alumni Award, the Social Service Award, the Crimson Award, the Advancement Achievement Award, the KU Pride Club Award, the Seoktap Outstanding Lecture Award, the Seoktap Outstanding Research Award, the Seoktap Outstanding Technology Award, the Employee Achievement Award, the Long-term Service Award, the KU Family Award, and the Role Model Award.

Proud Alumni Awards, which go to alumni who have contributed to national and social development and who have increased the prestige of their alma mater, were given to Koo Bon-Neung (’70, Department of Business Administration), Chairman of Heesung Group, and Chey Tae-Won (’79, Department of Physics), Chairman of SK Group.

After graduating from the Korea University Department of Business Administration in 1976, Mr. Koo started working for Lucky Goldstar, then for Goldstar, and subsequently became Vice Chairman of Heesung Metal and finally Chairman of Heesung Group, where he contributed to the development of the business and the enhancement of Korean industry’s global profile. He became president of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) in 2011 and contributed greatly to the evolution of Korean baseball as the moving force behind the building of a new stadium and the raising of a baseball development fund. Notably, since 2015, every year he has donated funds to the Alumni Association’s Academic Awards in order to strengthen his alma mater’s research capabilities.At the awards ceremony, Mr. Koo said, “When you play other ball games, you score when the ball goes in the net. But when you play baseball, a score takes place when a player reaches home. When you play other ball games, you throw the ball at the opposing team, but in baseball you also have to throw it ‘home’. It is only in baseball that coaches and players all wear the same uniform. The sport shows how collaboration works. The 108 stitches on a baseball remind me of the 108 feelings in Buddhism, and countless thoughts may run through the pitcher’s mind before he throws the ball.”

Chey Tae-Won graduated from the university’s Department of Physics in 1983. He started his career as a general manager of SK International and rose to the position of Chairman of SK Group. As a business leader, he has been recognized for his commitment to excellence and outstanding management skills, and he has a keen interest in the role of ESG and of social enterprises as Korea moves forward, committed as he is to their playing a leading role in the economic development of Korea. He served as the President of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the President of the Korea Handball Association, in this way contributing greatly to the development of the Korean economy and domestic sports. Because of his loyalty to his alma mater, he has given financial support to the establishment of SK Future Hall on Anam campus and to the Department of Semiconductor Engineering.

After receiving his award, Mr. Chey said, “I am not sure I am worthy of this honor, but I will accept it as an impetus for me to achieve things that I can be proud of as I move forward. It’s been nearly 40 years since I graduated from Korea University. I will never forget what I learned at this university, and I will strive to support the nurturing of future talents here.”
Social Service Awards were bestowed on Yoon Ju-Hong (’62, College of Medicine), Director of Yoon Ju Hong Clinic, and Jeong Seong-Hun (’62, Department of Political science), Chief Director of Korea DMZ Peace-Life Valley.

Since graduating from Korea University Medical School, Yoon Ju-Hong, also known as the ‘Schweitzer of Bongcheon-dong,’ has dedicated himself to helping the underprivileged for over 40 years, starting with medical volunteering in island villages. In addition to providing free medical treatment to those on low-incomes, he established the Gwanak Scholarship Association to provide scholarships to students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Jeong Seong-Hun is an activist who was prominent in the peasant movement led by the Catholic Farmers’ Association in the 1970s, the democratization movement in the 1980s, and the Korean wheat restoration movement in the 1990s, and he has been a stalwart supporter of the inter-Korean exchanges which have taken place since the 2000s. In 2018, he served as President of the Saemaul Undong Center, in which role he played a huge part in the development of the new paradigm of the Life Saving Movement, and he has contributed greatly to people’s awakening to the true meaning of social integration, achieved through future-oriented practices.

The family of the late Jung Woon-Oh, Nam Kyung-Ae, a former Director of the Asian Maternity Hospital, and Kim Jeong-Ho, the CEO of Bear Better were chosen as the recipients of the Crimson Award, which honors contributions made by those who have continuously supported the development of the university.

Jung Woon-Oh’s family have donated 20.2 billion won to Korea University in accordance with the wishes of the late Jung Woon-Oh, who financially supported promising young people and led a frugal life. Korea University has named this donation the ‘Jung Woon Oh IT Gyo Yang Hall Construction Fund’, and plans to use it to build educational infrastructure equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories and lecture rooms on the Natural Sciences Campus.

Nam Kyung-Ae, a former Director of the Asian Maternity Hospital, has continuously donated to Korea University in order to support the development of her alma mater and to nurture the talents of medical students. Her donations underpin the ‘Murok Nam Kyung Ae Korea University Alumni Association Medical Award,’ an honor given to faculty who have contributed to the advancement of medicine through outstanding academic research achievements, the ‘Women’s Alumni Association Scholarship’ which financially supports medical students, the ‘Nam Kyung Ae Scholarship’ which supports graduate students, and the ‘Again, 65 Campaign’, which is a funding stream for the construction of the Mediscience Park.

Since 1995, Kim Jeong-Ho, the CEO of Bear Better, has continuously donated to the Korea University Development Fund, the Chinese Exchange Student Scholarship Fund, the Engineering College Construction Fund, and the Education Environment Improvement Fund. Recently, he donated funds for new developments in the 4.18 Memorial Hall, including an elevator for the disabled and an expansion of the Start-up Support Center.

Among the KU faculty members who gave undergraduate courses in the second semester of 2021, 135 professors and lecturers whose student evaluations were on average in the top 5% received the Seoktap Outstanding Lecture Award. Among researchers whose technology transfer results were regarded as outstanding last year, those who were among the 15 most highly-ranked were granted the Seoktap Outstanding Technology Award. Lastly, 55 professors or lecturers whose research achievements last year were in the top 3% received the Seoktap Outstanding Research Award.

Kim Jae-ho, Chairman of the Korea University Foundation, addressed the audience at the ceremony, as follows: “We have been deeply concerned about the role of universities and the future of Korea during the long, dark tunnel of the pandemic. Even in a situation where we could not meet each other, we strove to uphold KU’s founding spirit of ‘National Salvation through Education.’ After repeated trial and error, remote classes and remote working have now become our new normal, and we are making committed efforts to establish a future model for university education by assimilating the digital technologies that have been developing at breakneck speed.” He added, “Countries around the world are currently in fierce competition to take the lead in the 4th Industrial Revolution. Let’s make every effort to nurture talented people at Korea University, study the challenges of the new era in relation to AI, big data, blockchain, and future medicine, and further foster cooperation with global companies. In all of these ways and in many others, the Korea University Foundation will support the development of the university and its students.”

Chung Jin Taek, President of Korea University, also delivered a speech at the ceremony. He said, “In commemoration of Korea University’s 117th anniversary, I would like to remind you all of the ideals ongojisin (溫故知新), which means reviewing the old and learning the new, and beobgochangsin (法古創新), which means learning from the old to create new things. The future lies in the creation of something new based on the positive values and spirit that humankind has cherished and focused upon in the past. Korea University’s 117-year history contains the proud traces of visionary leaders, wise school administrators, and faculty members who were ahead of their time, it’s replete with examples of academic innovation and high calibre education, and the spirit of young intellectuals who embodied the ideals of liberty, justice, and truth. Today is a day to prepare for a better future, in which we play a full part in the realization of the values called for in a new era, by reflecting on this proud history of the university. In 2025, three years from today, we will celebrate the university’s 120th anniversary. That year should be another turning point in the history of Korea University and an opportunity for us to take a leap forward. We will establish a long-term development plan for Korea University that reflects the university’s mission to become an ever more people-centered university that is at the forefront of the creation of these new values on the basis of the spirit and tradition that have sustained us for so long, in this way continuing to nurture the creative talents of the future, and to change the world.”

President Chung continued, “We are now at a point at which we need to recover from the pandemic and design a new blueprint for our university. In 2020, right after the outbreak of COVID-19, Korea University launched the Next Normal Committee, which was tasked with the development of a university innovation model that will thrive amidst the great digital transformation that has begun. We will continue the journey of both sustaining tradition and innovating for the future in order to devise this blueprint for the university, a process that will lead to substantial results even this year. Korea University can write new chapters of our history only through striking this balance, cherishing the 117 years of our history but not embedding it in amber, constantly walking the path of creativity and innovation on the basis of our sustaining values. We will not halt on our journey to add to the proud history of Korea University.”

In his speech, Seung Myung-Ho, President of the KU Alumni Association, said, “Korea University alumni, as we have always done, will resiliently overcome the challenges thrown up by the pandemic with the spirit of a fierce tiger, and take the lead in making the changes necessary in the post-pandemic era through creative thinking and the bold execution of ideas. I look forward to a hopeful future in which the harmony and friendship of all Korea University alumni gain new vitality, and in which our alma mater and the alumni association grow together as one through our shared priority of contributing to society. The many achievements of Korea University over the past 117 years were possible partly thanks to the hard work and dedication of alumni. The alumni association will continue to play its part in this tradition, by creating a virtuous cycle through which Korea University enhances its status as a world-class institution of higher education while alumni make meaningful social contributions and give back to their alma mater.”

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