OutlinePioneering intellectuals, innovating KU!
Korea University Since 1905
Korea University was born as “Bosung College” in 1905. With a Royal grant from Emperor Gojong of the Korean Empire, Lee Yong-ik (Chungsukgong, 1854-1907), Treasurer of the Royal Household, established the school under the banner, “Education Saves the Country.” In the wake of the Korea-Japan Treaty in 1905, however, Lee Yong-ik sought asylum overseas to lead the resistance movement against Japan, which in turn posed a challenge to the management of Bosung College. Although Sohn Byung-hee (pen-name Uiam, 1861-1922), the leader of Cheondogyo, succeeded to the leadership vacated by Lee, Japanese imperial repression and the Great Depression aggravated the school’s financial predicament. Kim Seong-su(pen-name Inchon, 1891-1955) took over Bosung College and laid the foundation on which Korea University would arise. He aspired to build a genuine national university in response to the public schools, which the Japanese Empire manipulated to disseminate propaganda. In particular, the Main Hall (Historic Site 285), embodying the spirit of Inchon, and Main Library (Historic Site 286) were constructed through funding raised across the country and served as strong buttresses for the growth of the university. Following national liberation in 1945, the college was elevated to the status of a university in 1946 and renamed Korea University. Throughout the modern history of the Republic of Korea, Korea University has stood as a symbol of the spirit of resistance, manifesting the conscience of the nation and critical intelligence. This spirit led to a number of uprisings and protests by KU students calling for democracy, including one on April 18th, which triggered the April 19 Revolution in 1960.
Later, the Korea University Foundation acquired Woosuk University in 1971, thus incorporating its College of Medicine and affiliated hospital. In 1980, the Sejong Campus was constructed in Seochang-ri, Jochiwon-eup, Yeongi-county, South Chungcheong Province (Sejong Special Autonomous City today), reflecting the continued advancement of the University. In addition, in the 1990s, the Green Campus was built, and the College of Medicine and auxiliary hospital were relocated from Hyehwa-dong to Anam-dong. At the same time, the Korean TechnoComplex was stablished to realize collaborative research by business, research institutes and university for the first time in Korea. Furthermore, Korea University established the School of Life Science and Biotechnology to foster professional human resources in the bioscience area, hosted the Seoul Center of the Korea Basic Science Institute, replete with cutting-edge research equipment, and opened the Graduate School of International Studies to nurture professionals in international and local studies. These endeavors paved the way for KU to join the ranks of leading global universities in science and other areas in the 21st century. In addition, the refreshing and pleasant Anam Campus without cars was the first to be created in Korea, thanks to the construction of the Central Plaza under the grass park over what was once the main athletic field. The nderground plaza consists of multi-level parking, reading rooms and various convenience facilities. Ushering in the centennial anniversary in 2005 brought momentum to Korea University to transform itself from a leading domestic university to a globally prominent one. The infrastructure built during the preparation phase for globalization in the mid to late 1990s served as a stepping stone to significantly extend English classes and add international faculty members. In addition, Korea University joined Universitas 21, the multilateral global body of universities for cooperation in 2004, held the 2004 International Forum for University Students and became a member of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) in 2008. Korea University has concluded academic exchange agreements with at least 850 universities and institutes in over 90 countries. As bridgeheads for globalization, dormitories have been established at prestigious international universities, including China’s Remin University and Canada’s University of British Columbia (UBC), as well as on the Anam Campus, such as the CJ International House and Anam Global House to exclusively accommodate international professors and students. Korea University, treasuring its proud and unique identity as the nation’s leading university, continues to widen and deepen its recognition and capabilities around the world to become a leading globally-focused, research-driven university.