- Yonsei University’s 133rd Commemorative Address 2018.05.14
“Engaging our Old Future and New Past”
May 12, 2018
I would like to extend a warm welcome and my sincere gratitude to the honorable Chairman Dong-soo Hur and Directors of the Board of Directors, former Yonsei Presidents, Yonsei alumni who have returned to our campus to commemorate their 25th and 50th year since graduation, Yonsei Alumni Association representatives, and all distinguished guests who have joined us here today.
As we celebrate the establishment of Yonsei University, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on how we can engage our “old future” and “new past,” in other words, how we can create a new future based on our honorable traditions. This year marks the 133rd anniversary of the founding of Yonsei and the 100th anniversary of Chi Won Hall, the very first wooden building of Sinchon Campus that was completed in February 1918 near today’s Engineering Hall 2. Chiwon Hall unfortunately did not survive the fires of the Korean War, but the challenging spirit of the Yonsei pioneers who built the building still resides with us.
Since the beginning of my term as President, I have expressed my intentions to proceed towards an old future. This is the promise to inherit in Yonsei’s education and research the spirit of service, sharing, and consideration that our founders planted on this land many years ago. I sincerely hope that the year 2018, the 100th anniversary of our first building in Sinchon, will be the inaugural year to engage our old future and new past. From the perspective of future generations looking back, we can see that the new changes we are making today will mark the beginning of a new past. Now, what must we do to engage our old future and new past?
Convergence research is the key for pioneering future universities. The wide spectrum of academic fields ranging from humanities and social sciences, natural sciences and engineering, to medicine and law, is all here where Yonsei’s founders planted their first seeds on Yonsei soil 100 years ago. We have the responsibility to embrace this ideal interdisciplinary research environment to lead during the next 100 years through innovative research that reaches beyond academic boundaries.
Respected Yonsei family,
Last March, Yonsei University signed an agreement with Incheon Metropolitan City and Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority for the “Second Stage” development plan of Yonsei International Campus. The agreement thus actualizes the foundation of the complete establishment of Yonsei’s branch campus in Songdo, Incheon, which was first initiated in 2006. As part of the development plan for the International Campus, Yonsei Science Park will be established as a new R&D convergence research complex and Yonsei University Health System will open the new research-oriented Songdo Severance Hospital in 2024 to pioneer new paths in bio-convergence research. Yonsei-SL Biopharma Institute will also open on campus, thus introducing a new academy-research-industry cluster model that shares research results and profits as well as human resources for pharmaceutical drug development. In addition, Yonsei University announced its “open and shared campus” partnership with POSTECH last March, thus intending to pioneer the future of the shared economy by introducing a joint research and education paradigm. The entire university community will make a collective effort to ensure these various initiatives will create the beginning of a new past that will be commemorated by future Yonseians.
Last year, Yonsei University ranked 1st in social responsibility among private universities. This accomplishment can be regarded as the successful outcome of Yonsei’s education philosophy that the leaders of the future society will be warm-hearted talents that practice learning and sharing. Yonsei established the Institute for Higher Education Innovation to nurture talented leaders of sharing and devotion who cherish the Yonseian spirit of service planted here by its founders. We are also implementing various innovative education methods and curriculum, such as problem-solving, holistic education, and experience learning. In addition, Yonsei established the Institute for Global Engagement & Empowerment to encourage the effective collaboration of the missionary work and volunteer activities conducted by the university and Yonsei University Health System, and to contribute in solving the various issues of Korean society and the global community as an engaged university.
The Global Engagement & Empowerment Forum was held at Yonsei University last February, where international dignitaries, including Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, current Secretary-General of the United Nations, Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, and Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, held discussions on sustainable development. Through this initiative, Yonsei University has established itself as a key participant in solving global issues of the current and future generation, and will continue to secure its position as a socially-engaged, world-class university.
The entire Yonsei community must make a collective effort to move toward our old future while engaging in our new past. We are currently facing many tasks in creative research and innovative education, including cutting-edge convergence research, creative teaching methods, hands-on experience learning, and Residential College education. Your continuous love and support is needed as Yonsei University develops and changes even in difficult circumstances.
I am grateful for the wisdom of the pioneers who overcame many challenges to help Yonsei University grow and flourish. I am grateful for the love of God as He guides us towards the right path. I am grateful to all distinguished guests who are here to celebrate this joyous day. May the grace of God be with you. Thank you.