“This university will produce such treasures, such values that it will surpass my earnings a hundred times over.” Vehbi Koç
Koç Üniversitesi ana kampüs

A Dream University: A Center of Excellence

The experience gathered during the educational investment process initiated by Vehbi Koç, and continued by the Koç Family and the Vehbi Koç Foundation guided the establishment and the operation of Koç University in determining “the qualities of a modern educational institution.” The project took shape with the belief that eminent educational institutions are among the most valuable investments that can be made to secure the future of a country.

Vehbi Koç Vakfı Yönetim Kurulu Başkanı Koç Üniversitesi Danışma Kurulu Üyesi Semahat Arsel

The Feasibility Report revealed essential conditions for an eminent university, “its activities involving the teaching of science, research and production must carry universal qualities” and “it must evolve toward excellence.” The aim was establishing a Center of Excellence, that would start as a “small but high quality” university which gathers superior ability students and an outstanding academic staff, which benefits the country and society by raising well-equipped graduates.

In line with this aim, the following principles have been adopted:

  • To achieve a balance between quality expert versus quality person, regardless of their major area of study, all students will receive a two-year “core program” made up of a liberal arts curriculum,
  • A major part of resources will be allocated to education and to the development of scientific research,
  • The university will train individuals with leadership qualities who can produce creative solutions to problems.

The Feasibility Report was presented to management of the Foundation on 20 December 1989 for discussion. At that time, the Foundation Executive Board was made up of honorary president Vehbi Koç, vice president Aydın Bolak and members Rahmi M. Koç, Semahat Arsel, Sevgi Gönül, Suna Kıraç, Prof. İlhan Akın, Fahir İlkel, İnan Kıraç, Ünal Korukçu, and Prof. Dr. Kemal Oğuzman. In the meeting held on 20 December 1989, the Executive Committee decided to “establish a university under the name Koç University, an institution where tuition would take place in the English language.” Authorization was provided to the Executive Committee to plan and conceptualize the investment and to undertake preparations for the official application process.

A year later, in May 1990, a committee made up of Prof. Dr. Abdullah Kuran, Prof. İbrahim Kavrakoğlu, Prof. Ahmet Koç and Prof. Özer Ertuna held its first meeting in Antalya, to determine the university’s academic goals and programs.

While this work was underway, a happy development took place on 31 December 1991; the Draft Law Concerning the Establishment of Koç University was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. And on 5 March 1992, the Turkish Grand National Assembly passed Law number 3785, which meant that Koç University’s establishment was legally complete.


Vehbi Koç Vakfı Yönetim Kurulu Başkanı Koç Üniversitesi Danışma Kurulu Üyesi Semahat Arsel