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2008 Commencement Ceremony Held​
View : 10335 Date : 2008-03-09 Writer : ed_news


The 2008 KAIST Commencement Ceremony was held on Feb. 29 at the KAIST Amphitheater in the presence of KAIST President Nam Pyo Suh, U.S. Ambassador to Korea Alexander Vershbow, alumni representatives and parents.

Other dignitaries on hand included National Assemblymen Sang-Kee Suh,  Chang-Sun Hong and Sang-Min Lee; and Daejoen City Major Sung-Hyo Park.

President Suh and Vice President Soon-Heung Chang presented degrees to each of the 1,321 graduates (200 doctors, 725 masters and 396 bachelors) instead of just to representatives. Since its inception in 1971, KAIST has produced 7,067 Ph.D. graduates, 18,636 master"s degree holders and 8,998 bachelor"s degree holders. This year, 40 percent of the Ph.D. graduates, 79, were in their twenties upon graduation.

President Suh called on the graduates to return the favor they received from society by making their share of contributions to humanity. "You were chosen to be students of this unique university because the Korean people -- not only KAIST professors and staff, but also ordinary taxpayers -- believe that outstanding young people like you can change the world in which we live for the better. Now it is time for you to pay back their support," he said.

Notable graduates of this year include So-Yeon Yi, 29, the first Korean female astronaut candidate, who earned her doctorate degree in bio and brain engineering. She was granted a special award in recognition of her role in advancing space science in Korea but she could not attend the graduation ceremony due to her training schedule in Russia which will continue until April.

Eun-Gyu Oh, 26, was the youngest doctorate recipient in the ceremony and Won Hye-jeong, 21, recorded the top undergraduate GPA with a score of 4.20 over 4.3. Civil and environmental engineering major Seung-Hee Park, 28, published a total of eight papers in major international journals while attending KAIST and two more papers are currently under review.

So-Yeon Yi said: ``I frequently stayed up all night to research and write the paper. It was tough experience for me. Thanks to ceaseless support from professors and colleagues, however, I was able to complete the task,"" she said. ``I have done my best in studying, exercising and so on. I"m sure that my active, participatory attitude brought about this honorable moment.""

She is now training at Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center near Moscow as a replacement astronaut in case Koh San, 31, who is to be the first Korean astronaut, is unable to go into orbit.

Koh and Yi were selected from more than 36,000 applicants last year. Koh was finally picked as the primary candidate last September. The two are serving as space ambassadors appointed by the Ministry of Science & Technology.

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