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The university celebrated its 115th anniversary and hosted the K...
  • Writer : Communications Team
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  • Date : 2020-05-15

KU Pursues Innovation to Prepare for Post COVID-19

The university celebrated its 115th anniversary and hosted the KU Alumni Day ceremony.

The Proud Alumni Awards were granted to Jeong Yoo-geun, CEO of Daeyang Shipping, Kang Byung-chang, CEO of Soulbrain, and Kim Jong-yang, President of Interpol.


In commemoration of the 115th anniversary, Korea University and the KU Alumni hosted the celebration and KU Alumni Day ceremonies.


As the university anniversary and Children’s Day in Korea fall on the same day, the university has always lived up to its social role as a university in touch with the neighborhood on the fifth of May every year. However, to practice social-distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus, the university scaled down the celebration ceremonies and concurrent events this year.


On May 5, the 115th Anniversary Ceremony and KU Alumni Day took place in front of Main Hall. During the event, the following awards were granted to those who contributed to the development of the university: Proud Alumni Award, Crimson Award, Social Service Award, Seoktap Outstanding Lecture Award, Seoktap Research Award, Seoktap Technology Award, Employee Achievement Award and Alumni Achievement Award, Long-term Service Award, and Role Model Award.


▲ Awardees of the Proud Alumni Award: (from left) Koo Ja-yeol, President of the KU Alumni Association; Jeong Yoo-geun, CEO of Daeyang Shipping, and his wife; Kang Byung-chang, CEO of Soulbrain, and his wife; Kim Jong-yang, President of Interpol; and Chung Jin Teak, KU President 


The Proud Alumni awards were given to Jeong Yoo-geun (’67, Department of Public Administration), CEO of Daeyang Shipping and Chairman of Haesong Foundation for Law and Culture, Kang Byung-chang (’74, Department of Electronics Engineering), CEO of Soulbrain, and Kim Jong-yang (’81, Department of Business Administration), current President of Interpol and former Commissioner of the Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency.


CEO Jeong worked as a public servant specialized in administrative tasks at the Ministry of Transportation and the Korea Maritime and Port Administration before he established Daeyang Shipping in 1993. Achieving outstanding results in bulk cargo shipping, he has made huge contributions to improving the global reputation of Korea. In 2006, he donated more than 3 billion won to support the university for the construction of a law library which was later named as Haesong Law Library. He also established Haesong Foundation for Law and Culture to offer chances for various academic activities and financially support KU students, setting an example for KU alumni members and currently-enrolled students. Jeong also had another foundation, called ‘Miracle for Africa Foundation,’ in Malawi, Africa. The foundation supports barren rural areas of Africa to build hospitals, farms, orphanages, and colleges, transcending differences between races and barriers between countries.


CEO Kang Byung-chang received his master’s degree and doctorate at KU graduate school and the graduate school at the University of Minnesota, respectively. When he worked at Samsung Electronics, he trained technical professionals to be equipped with competitiveness in developing key technologies as well as abilities to practically apply their knowledge. Currently working as CEO of Soulbrain, Kang succeeded in dealing with the crisis in the semiconductor material industry caused by Japan’s export restriction on high-tech materials since July, 2019. By successfully manufacturing liquid hydrogen fluoride, one of the key materials under export restrictions, solely in Korea, Kang and his company, Soulbrain, have made outstanding contributions to enhancing the global positioning of Korea. In recognition of his contribution to the development of materials and so-called Root industries, Kang was granted the Order of Industrial Service Merit. He also received an Export Tower prize on Trade Day in 2019. At present, he works as President of Alumni at the College of Engineering, Korea University, striving for the development of the alumni association and his alma mater.


Interpol President Kim Jong-yang passed the 29th Public Administration Examinations and was specially employed as a police officer. He served as Chief of Seoul Seongbuk Police Station, Director General of Foreign Affairs Bureau at Korea National Police Agency, Commissioner of Gyeongnam Provincial Police Agency, and Commissioner of Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency. During his term of office, he lived up to his principles, ‘Be passionate for work, humble to others, and proud of being in a government organization.’ Always taking the initiative and setting an example, Kim was regarded as the symbol of public servants who were respected and trusted by everyone. In recognition of his contribution to securing the safety of international society and establishing cooperative relations around the globe, Kim was appointed as Delegate of Interpol Executive Committee for three years and Vice President of Interpol Executive Committee for the next three years. In 2018, he became the first Korean to be elected as President of Interpol, raising the global reputation of his alma mater and setting a good example of enhancing the country’s status in the world.


Lee Yong-hee, President of Taekwang-sa, was chosen as the recipient of the Crimson Award which honors contributions made by those who continuously support the development of the university. In June 2019, President Lee donated a four-story building, valued at almost 11 billion won, and located in Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu District, to Korea University. It is the largest donation ever made by an individual in the history of the university. Even though nothing connected him with the university, Lee decided to donate the building with an aim of helping the university nurture future leaders of Korea. The university raised a scholarship fund from the building and named the fund after Lee’s pen name, ‘Dong-gok.’ In the 1st semester of 2020, 50 students were selected as the scholarship recipients. The university has a plan to financially support 50 students per year with the help of the ‘Dong-gok Lee Yong-hee Scholarship Fund.’ At the donation ceremony held on June 18 last year, President Lee said, “I donated my entire fortune I have accumulated throughout my life because I don’t want students who have dreams to be disrupted by their financial conditions. I believe watching future leaders grow with sound minds and hope for the future is one of the best things that can happen in your later years.”


▲ Awardees of the Crimson Award 

▲ Awardees of the Social Service Award 


The Social Service Award was awarded to Park Sang-eun, Director of Sam Hospital and the Africa Future Foundation. After graduation from the KU Medical School, Director Park has actively participated in the Bioethics movement. In 2014, he was appointed as Chairperson of the National Bioethics Committee, one of the government committees under direct presidential control. Since he took office, he has contributed to building a framework for the bioethics policy of the country. In 1998, as part of the medical aid to North Korea, he opened a blood purification chamber for the first time at the hospital affiliated with the Pyeong Yang Medical School. He also worked hard to increase the level of healthcare in South Korea. By organizing the Sam Global Volunteers, he opened a free medical clinic for foreign workers and patients from socially-neglected groups. In 2007, he established the Africa Future Foundation, affiliated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which has been working on health care projects in 16 different countries of Africa. He also founded the Korea Malaria Elimination Network, making remarkable contributions to improving the level of health care in the world.


▲ Representative of awardees of the Long-term Service Award


▲ Representative of awardees of the Employee Achievement Award 


▲ Representative of awardees of the Alumni Achievement Award 


▲ the Role Model Award


▲ Representative of awardees of the Seoktap Technology Award; Representative of awardees of the Seoktap Outstanding Lecture Award; Representative of awardees of the Seoktap Research Award 


Among the KU faculty members who taught undergraduate students in the 2nd semester of 2019, 131 professors and lecturers whose lecture evaluation points on average were in the top 5% received the Seoktap Outstanding Lecture Award. Among researchers whose technology transfer results were regarded as outstanding last year, 11 highly-ranked ones were granted the Seoktap Technology Award. Lastly, 46 professors or lecturers whose research achievements of last year were in the top 3% received the Seoktap Research Award.



Kim Jae-ho, Chairman of the Korea University Foundation, addressed the audience at the ceremony. “I feel solemn when I see the campus less crowded than normal because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe that we have strong enough willpower to survive the hard times. Like the university was based on its motto, ‘National Salvation through Education,’ those who graduated from the university have been working hard to fulfill their responsibility as leaders in our society. Whenever the nation faced a national crisis, they were at the forefront of fighting against the odds and leading revolutions. They were also key members of the major industrialization and democratization movements in Korea. If the KU family get all together to overcome the difficulties of these days with the unyielding KU spirit and toughness like a tiger, I am certain that we can contain the COVID-19 outbreak.”



Chung Jin Taek, President of Korea University also delivered a speech at the ceremony. “Since its foundation, Korea University, as a main guardian of the national spirit and a cradle of the national brain power, has been acting as a beacon of the future for the nation and our people by fulfilling its missions such as democratization, industrialization, and globalization. Like those changes and developments the university has gone through for the past 115 years, more challenges wait for us with their conditions varied and scales broadened as the world we are living in now is changing faster than ever before.” He continued his speech with a focus on changes and innovations the university will pursue.


First, he said the university will nurture creative and talented students who will answer for the calling of the times. To do so, the university will provide the interdisciplinary education service in full scale and various comparative study programs through which students can improve their academic competences, develop their will for self-development, and learn why and how they can contribute to the development of future society. He expected that KU students will perform a role as future leaders with creativity and good personality in this ever-changing society.


Next, he emphasized the university’s innovation plan for becoming a research-focused university. He said that he expected a big change to come in the format of educational service as we go through the COVID-19 outbreak. Research achievements made by universities will provide solutions to social issues and eventually lead the development of civilization, proving their practicality in the real world. In this light, the role of graduate schools will become more important than ever. To keep pace with such a trend, the university will organize its graduate schools to focus on administrative innovation and promotion of research.


President Chung reassured the audience that through these innovations, the university will conduct research that can meet the values required in the current times and have specific purposes to achieve. He also said that the university will actively perform research on the digital revolution, also known as the 4th Industrial Revolution. In doing so, the KU smart campus will play a role as a large-scale living lab which encourages students on campus to participate as both service developers and recipients. In addition, he mentioned that the university will focus on research and development in the field of health care and medicine, the significance of which has been highlighted recently due to the COVID-19 outbreak. By building knowledge in health care and medicine, the university plans to conduct research, offer educational services, and perform administrative projects to be in line with the sustainable development goals declared by the United Nations.


Lastly, he said that the university will brace for the future more relentlessly than ever before as the entire world has been suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic without preparation. The university will organize a committee, tentatively named ‘Next Normal,’ to forecast post-COVID 19 changes and prepare for them. By doing so, the university will re-set the role of a university to prepare for new orders and new changes in the future society. He also mentioned about the establishment of Virtual Korea University programs through which the university can pursue a new education paradigm that is completely different from the existing, typical education methodology. As the needs for knowledge that is alive and practical have increased, the university has a plan to offer a new educational service in the future.


President Chung ended his speech by declaring as follows: “The KU spirit we need right now is a fearless, challenging spirit and an experimental spirit which dares to try new things. Korea University focusing on creativity will come up with key strategies to overcome the current crisis and fulfill the calling of the times. While we pursue changes and innovations, we have to keep in mind that people should be at the center of our strategies and the final goal of them. Academic and scientific technology developments that we pursue should contribute to the wellbeing of people and the development of our society. In this regard, the KU spirit, which values human beings and regards people as the subject and object of these developments, cannot be underestimated. In addition, in order for those changes and innovations to be shared as achievements made by the entire university community, the KU spirit for a harmonious unity should be the foundation for our strategies. To summarize, Korea University, which respects people and creates new values based on creativity, will cooperate with its faculty and students and eventually get over the hardships of these days to open a new chapter of our history.”



Koo Ja-yeol, President of the KU Alumni Association, also gave an address at the ceremony. “I feel sorry that we had to scale down today’s event due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but I am certain that the KU alumni members, no matter whether they are in Korea or other countries, will remember the anniversary with love and pride for their alma mater. The 115 years of KU history can be regarded as the history of tertiary education in Korea. 350,000 graduates of the university were the main characters of the modern and contemporary history of Korea. Our university weathered the harsh reality of the Japanese colonial era. When the nation faced the tragedy of national division, the university continued unwavering and carried on nurturing the talented students who would later become future leaders. Five years later, the university will commemorate the 120th anniversary, its second 60th anniversary if you calculate it in the Korean traditional way. As the first and best higher education institution, Korea University should proceed to the road of change and innovation earlier than other universities with a sense of duty as a leader of university education in Korea.” During his speech, President Koo put an emphasis on the responsibility that the university should always live up to when it pursues academic and educational developments. He asked for the university to enhance the academic reputation of the university on the basis of academic and educational achievement made throughout the past 115 years. President Koo ended his speech by saying, “I ask earnestly the professors of Korea University to make my alma mater one of the top universities in the world by conducting interdisciplinary and creative research that is most needed in modern times”



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