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KAIST confers Honorary Doctorate of Science on NYU President Emeritus John Edward Sexton
< Photo 1. NYU President Emeritus John Edward Sexton posing with KAIST President Kwang Hyung Lee holding the Honorary Doctorate at the KAIST Commencement Ceremony > KAIST (President Kwang Hyung Lee) announced that it conferred an honorary doctorate of science degree on NYU President Emeritus John Edward Sexton at the Commencement Ceremony held on the 17th. An official from KAIST explained, "KAIST is conferring an honorary doctorate for President Sexton's longstanding leadership in higher education, and for his contributions to the process of establishing the groundwork for collaboration with NYU through which KAIST is to become a leading global value-creating university." President Emeritus Sexton served as the president of NYU from 2002 to 2015, establishing two degree-granting campuses and several global academic sites of NYU around the world. Because of its steady rise in university rankings, such as its medical school earning the number two position in the United States, not only has NYU joined the ranks of first-class universities, but it has also achieved remarkable growth, with the number of students increasing dramatically from 29,000 to 60,000. In addition, during his tenure as president at NYU, President Emeritus Sexton successfully expanded fundraising to support the University’s academic goals. During his 14-year tenure as president, he organized initiatives such as 'Raise $1 Million Every Day' and 'Call to Action' to raise $4.9 billion in donations, the largest in NYU history to date. President Emeritus Sexton is famous for teaching full time even during his presidential tenure and for the anecdotes about his special care for students, addressing the school members as “family”. In particular, he is famous for giving hugs to all graduates at the commencement ceremony. Minister Park Jin of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Korea, who graduated from NYU School of Law in 1999 with a Master of Studies in Law, is one of the graduates who received President Sexton's hug. President Emeritus Sexton, born in 1942, visited KAIST on the 17th to receive the honorary doctorate and to encourage the expedited development of the KAIST-NYU Joint Campus, for which he helped lay the foundation. President Emeritus Sexton said, "I like the slogan, 'Onward and upward together,'" and added, "I look forward to having the two universities achieve their shared vision of becoming the world-class universities together through cooperation to establish the KAIST-NYU Joint Campus." < Photo 2. NYU President Emeritus John Edward Sexton giving the acceptance speech at the KAIST Commencement Ceremony > The US Ambassador to Korea, the Honorable Philip Goldberg, also attended the commencement ceremony at KAIST to congratulate President Emeritus Sexton on the conferment of the honorary doctorate. Ambassador Goldberg has been serving as the US Ambassador to Korea since July of last year. President Kwang Hyung Lee said, “President Emeritus Sexton was a president best described as an innovator who promoted diversity in education and pursued academic excellence throughout his life.” He went on to say, “The KAIST-NYU Joint Campus, which will be completed on the foundation laid by President Emeritus Sexton, will serve as the focal point that will attract global talents flooding into New York by the driving force created from the synergy of the two universities as well as serving as a starting point for KAIST's outstanding talents to pursue their dreams toward the world.” KAIST signed a cooperation agreement with NYU in June of 2022 to build a joint campus, and held a presentation of signage for the KAIST-NYU Joint Campus in September. Currently, about 60 faculty members are planning to begin joint research initiatives in seven fields, including robotics, AI, brain sciences, and climate change. In addition, cooperation in the field of education, including student exchange, minors, double majors, and joint degrees, is under discussion.
Commencement Ceremony Honors the Class of 2022
Third online commencement ceremony since the pandemic outbreak celebrates 2741 graduates The 2022 commencement ceremony convened online on February 18 to celebrate and award degrees to the Class of 2022. The graduating class of 2022 included 663 PhDs, 1,383 Masters, and 695 Bachelors. The limited number of attendees included 86 graduate representatives and approximately 20 faculty members in senior leadership, as well as Korea’s Minister of Science and ICT Hyesook Lim. The ceremony was livestreamed on KAIST’s YouTube channel. Valedictorian Ji-Young Lee from the Department of Physics received the Minister of Science and ICT’s Award. Yu-Jin Bang from the School of Business and Technology Management was the Awardee of the Chairman of the KAIST Board of Trustees and the KAIST Presidential Awardee was Jong-Hwan Lee from the Department of Mathematical Sciences. KAIST conferred honorary doctorates to Honorary Chairman Jae-Chul Kim of Dongwon Group and Chairman Sung-Hwan Chang of Samsung Brush. Chairman Kim, whose donation funded the establishment of the Kim Jae-Chul Graduate School of AI, was awarded an honorary doctorate of science technology. Chairman Chang was awarded an honorary doctorate of business administration in recognition of his funding in the fields of medical science and engineering at KAIST. This year’s undergraduate commencement speaker was Hye-Lin Park from the School of Computing. She has severe cerebral palsy and was the first student admitted to KAIST with a severe physical handicap. “I loved mathematics and wanted to become a mathematician. When I learned programming in my second year, I was so mesmerized by it that I transferred to the School of Computing,” said Park, who plans to continue studying programming languages in graduate school at KAIST. “I spent my entire life of 24 years in this beautiful wheelchair. Without the support and help of my parents, friends, and my special teachers who helped me move and study at the campus, I would not have made it this far,” said Park. For easier access to classrooms and facilities, KAIST started to remodel its facilities to make the entrance of buildings more wheelchair-friendly. Park made many suggestions to the Office of Student Life and the Facilities Management Office on how to ease mobility for handicapped people on campus. The physical education course that was required for graduation was also revised to stipulate exceptions. Minister Lim stressed the role of young scientists and researchers in these times of digital transformation dominated by AI and the metaverse. She encouraged the graduates to carry out their dreams with warm hearts and challenging spirits. KAIST President Kwang Hyung Lee also stressed the power of dreams, calling for graduates to dream big even in times of uncertainty. “Humanity stands at an inflection point in history. The fourth industrial revolution and outbreak of Covid-19 have unfolded the grand global transformation. Although the future gives us new opportunities, it also comes with anxiety regarding the uncertainties ahead.” “Dreams make your heart race and push us to live life to the fullest. Dreams will help you keep moving forward even in the face of adversity,” he said.
KAIST Celebrates 50-Year Anniversary with 2,712 New Graduates via 2021 Commencement Ceremony
KAIST is proud to announce the graduation of 2,712 students, including 668 PhDs and 1,331 master’s degree recipients. The pandemic could not stop the university from recognizing each graduate's remarkable and original achievements. A pandemic-proof blended commencement ceremony was held on Friday, February 19, and livestreamed to the graduates and their loved ones. KAIST decided to take extra precautions to protect graduates and other attendees’ health and well-being. For the virtual ceremony, only 83 out of the 2,712 graduates were invited to attend the ceremony in person. Graduates were divided into four groups to attend at four different places in Daejeon and Seoul campuses and watch the ceremony via Zoom. No family members or friends of the graduates were allowed to participate at the campus, but happily cheered the graduates via YouTube. This year’s valedictorian, Hyun-Young Park from the School of Electrical Engineering, received the Award of the Minister of Science and ICT. Salutorian Yeh-Lin Cho from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering received the Award of the KAIST Board of Trustees, while the recipient of the KAIST Presidential Award was Min-Jae Kim from the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering. The Award of the KAIST Development Foundation Chairman and the KAIST Alumni Association Presidential Award were conferred to Kyung-Tae Kim from the Department of Physics and Min-Woo Jung from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, respectively. President Sung-Chul Shin, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Woo Sik Kim, and a very limited number of faculty members and administrative staff officiated the commencement ceremony from the KAIST Auditorium. President Shin applauded the graduates’ hard work and dedication in his commencement speech. He also delivered a very special congratulatory message to the bachelor’s degree awardees. “This year’s commencement is especially meaningful for me. I was appointed as the 16th president of KAIST on February 23, 2017, and met you for the first time on February 28 at the matriculation ceremony. We promised each other—as freshmen and as the first alumnus president—to do our best for the next four years,” President Shin recalled. He added, “I have done my best to keep my promise, and now my term will end on February 22. Of course, the past four years were even more precious because you were all a part of it.” In conclusion, President Shin said, “I am proud of you for keeping your end of the promise. Thank you for becoming who you are today. I have high hopes for the bright future that you will be shaping for KAIST and our society.” The livestream ceremony is archived for viewing on KAIST's Official YouTube Channel. (END)
Virtual Commencement Ceremony Honors the Class of 2020
The KAIST community gathered online to celebrate the 2020 graduating class. The blended ceremony conferred their hard-earned degrees on August 28. The belated celebration, which was postponed from February 21 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, honored the 2846 graduates with live streaming on YouTube beginning at 2:00 pm. The graduates include 721 PhDs and 1399 master’s degree holders. The government raised its social distancing guidelines to level two out of three on August 23 as the second wave of the virus hit the nation. Level two guidelines prohibit the gathering of more than 50 persons indoors or 100 persons outdoors. For the virtual ceremony, the Office of Student Affairs and Policy announced a list of 67 graduates who signed up to participate in the graduation ceremony. Graduates were divided into three groups to attend at three different places and watch the ceremony via Zoom. No family and friends of the graduates were allowed to participate at the campus. This year’s valedictorian, Kon-Yong Lee from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, received the Award of Minister of Science and Technology. Salutorian Hee-Kwang Roh from the Department of Chemistry received the Award of the KAIST Board of Trustees, while the recipient of the KAIST Presidential Award was Hong Jae-Min from the School of Computing. President Sung-Chul Shin, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Woo-Sik Kim, former Minister of Science and Technology and former Provost at KAIST Dr. KunMo Chung, and a very limited number of faculty and staff members officiated the commencement ceremony from the KAIST auditorium. President Shin in his commencement speech applauded the graduates’ hard work and dedication and delivered a very special congratulatory message to them. He encouraged the new graduates to be courageous enough to deal with these new challenges as well as future uncertainties, during the greatest transformation brought about by COVID-19. “Instead of following behind others as a fast follower, we should take the initiative and walk down new paths as a first mover.” He also stressed, “We can transform this crisis into an opportunity by practicing the C3 values KAIST pursues: Challenging, Creating, and Caring.” As new alumni of Korea’s top science and technology university, he said, “Our graduates should focus on creating the world’s best, first, or only one in their research or their work.” However, he also pointed out the importance of a caring mind for others when working together. At the ceremony, KAIST conferred an honorary doctorate degree to Dr. Younghoon David Kim, CEO and Chairman of Daesung Group, in recognition of his lifetime dedication to making innovations in the energy industry. Daesung Group is a leading energy company in Korea which manufactures and supplies natural gas for industries and home users. Dr. Kim is committed to making efficient energy sources by advancing cutting-energy sciences and disruptive technologies. He has served as chairman of the World Energy Council since 2016. In his acceptance speech, Kim stressed the Grand Energy Transition as a new driving force in the future energy industry for maximizing energy efficiency. “Since energy is the most basic foundation for all industries, improvements in energy efficiency translate into benefits for all related industries in terms of its efficiency and productivity.” “The Grand Energy Transition is progressing widely and rapidly across the entire value chain of energy production, distribution, and consumption with decarbonization, decentralization, and digitalization serving as its driving force.” He went on, “We should regard energy efficiency not as the fifth fuel but the first primary fuel.” (END)
President Lee Myung-bak's Congratulatory Address at 2009 KAIST Commencement Ceremony
Following is the full text of President Lee Myung-bak"s congratulatory address at the 2009 KAIST Commencement Ceremony. Beloved graduates, proud parents, dear family members, Mr. Cho Jeong-nam, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr. Suh Nam-pyo, President of KAIST, Esteemed faculty and staff members, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, It is great to see you all. First of all, I must begin by extending my most sincere congratulations to the 1,976 graduates who are receiving their degrees today. You worked hard, you earned it and I congratulate you. We must also remember your parents who worked just as hard as you did, if not more, to support you. You may have family members whom you wish to thank for their support and understanding. I also thank and congratulate the faculty and staff members who worked hard to provide the best possible education for you. Today is also a great day since we can all join together to recognize the achievements of Dr. Ryu Geun-chul and show him how deeply we respect and appreciate his generous contributions to KAIST. Today, Dr. Ryu received an honorary doctorate in science for his life-long contributions in the field of Korean traditional medicine. He has also donated a vast portion of his personal wealth to KAIST for educating future leaders in science and technology. Dear graduates, faculty members, KAIST has been in the forefront of leading Korea’s development over the last thirty-eight years. As the preeminent institution devoted to educating the very best minds in science and technology, more than 20% of all doctorate degree holders in Korea’s science and engineering field are KAIST alumnus. KAIST has led the drive to create more than 470 venture start-ups, opening up a vast new horizon for Korea’s scientific and technological breakthrough while leading the economic growth of Korea. KAIST has done exceptionally well even compared to the world’s best. It is ranked 34th in engineering and IT. It is ranked 46th in natural sciences. These rankings are a demonstration that KAIST is a research-focused institution with global competitiveness. Moreover, KAIST has been an example for other higher institutions seeking to reform the way colleges and universities operate. KAIST has demonstrated its forward-looking and reform-minded vision in terms of selecting students, recruiting and evaluating professors and managing its courses. In particular, when KAIST selects its students, it doesn’t look only at their test scores but looks for creative and innovative minds with real character and potential. Such practices are having positive influences on how other universities and colleges select their students. Furthermore, KAIST has taken the lead in applying their research skills to matters of global concern through its EEWS initiative. I am proud of such visionary work and will continue to have high hopes for KAIST. Our promising future depends on gifted individuals and gifted individuals are nurtured through solid education. For a country such as Korea with no natural resources, human capital is our greatest and most precious resource. We must overcome our lack of natural resources with our abundant and limitless brain power. The 21st century will be a knowledge-based society and so national competitiveness of individual countries will be determined by how competitive its universities and research institutes are. And the time calls for universities with world-class capabilities in research. Especially, our investments in science and technology today will ensure a brighter tomorrow. I assure you that this government will spare no effort to KAIST so that it can continue to foster the best minds for even greater achievements. My dear graduates and professors, proud parents and family members, All of us are going through difficult times due to the global economic crisis. At the same time, we must face global climate change which is our common concern. And this global concern must not be put aside or given less priority because of the economic crisis. We must do all we can to overcome the economic crisis while aggressively and consistently implementing measures to deal with climate change. At the same time, we must continue our quest to develop the next-generation engines of growth in preparation for the future when this economic crisis is eventually over. This is killing three birds with one stone and this is the core of my Low Carbon/Green Growth vision for Korea’s future. For a country like Korea with no oil reserves whatsoever, Low Carbon/Green Growth is a must. We simply do not have any other choice. It is also the path that the global community must take. Korea was late in joining the club of industrialized countries but we are ahead in the information technology sector. But, because we did not possess the core technologies in information and communication, we were unable to fully benefit from being ahead. Now, we must excel in all areas in the age of green growth. Korea’s future growth will depend on how many core technologies we manage to accrue in green technology, such as technologies to conserve energy, development of new and renewable energy. The government will double, compared to last year, its investments into research and development of green technology. The government has a long-term vision and this vision calls for continuously increasing strategic investments into the new engines of growth and they include basic sciences, core technologies and big science. Deregulation will continue so that we can foster scientific and technological advancements and also attract more investments and people from abroad. Dear graduates, Another source of our new engine of growth and our green technology is none other than fusion technology. Our bio, IT and nano technology will come together, and coupled with what is already a world-class IT industry, we can create future engines of growth. President Suh Nam-pyo stressed that “Inter-disciplinary study that takes place amidst the boundaries of different disciplines is where new discoveries and added-value are found.” This is a reminder of the importance of fusion research. And we all know that KAIST is the leader in this endeavor. Fusion technology will greatly improve our quality of life and introduce new and innovative ways to solve our real concerns. Healthcare and medical science are just two examples. As our society becomes an aged society, identifying the causes of and finding the cure for degenerative diseases such as Pakinson’s and dementia are becoming more and more important. If we manage to successfully combine our knowledge in medicine, science and engineering, we can come up with revolutionary ways to detect and cure these and other diseases. In particular, we will soon see science and medicine come together to create an entirely new paradigm in how we take care of our health. Medicinal research and high-tech research hospitals will be the norm. I truly believe that we can save both this planet as well as ourselves by utilizing green technologies and high-tech fusion technology. The government will continue to support such efforts. Dear graduates, the heroes of today, Some of you may wish to pursue higher degrees in order to reach even loftier academic goals. Some of you may opt to venture into society. Wherever you go and whatever you decide to do, do not be afraid of failure. Pursue your dreams. Face the challenges that come your way. And when you boldly face these challenges with the most precious gift you have, your youth and ideals, your dream will come true. Remember that history is made by those who take up the challenge. Do not be discouraged if you fail today. Just pick yourselves up tomorrow and try again. And again. Do not be consumed by selfish ambitions. But instead, always think what you can do for your society, your country and for humankind. Science and technology that is used for personal gains or new innovations and technologies lacking even the very basic ethical standards can become a curse to mankind. This is why those aspiring to become scientists and engineers must first agonize over how they plan to better the lives of man before they learn how to conduct experiments. Once you’ve gone through this, you will then be eligible to become true leaders, with your character and technological know-how. Remember the time you spent hunched over a book, in the classroom, in the library or in laboratories. Do not forget why you came here in the first place. Aim for higher goals in your respective fields. With that, I wish you a wondrous and exciting new journey. Again, congratulations and well done! Thank you.
President Suh to Receive Honorary Doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University of the United States has decided to present an honorary doctorate degree to KAIST President Nam-Pyo Suh, school authorities said on April 30. President Suh will receive the honorary degree during the university"s 111th commencement ceremony at its Pittsburgh campus on May 18. Suh earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon in 1964. Carnegie Mellon University said in a press release that Suh is honored for transforming KAIST into a world-class institution since he became president of KAIST in 2006. "His distinguished academic career has also included posts at the University of South Carolina and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as an assistant directorship for the National Science Foundation of the United States. Beyond his academic leadership, Suh invented an industrial process for production of plastic parts that is used in factories worldwide. He holds more than 50 patents and helped start several companies," the press release said. Five other prominent Americans will also receive honorary doctorate degrees from Carnegie Mellon along with President Suh. They are Al Gore, former U.S. vice president; Norman R. Augustine, former president and CEO of Martin-Marietta and Lockheed Martin and chairman of the American Red Cross; Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, the world"s largest online retailer; Elizabeth Catlett, an artist and sculptor famed for her dedication to the rights of minorities and women; and Patrick Colonel Suppes, a professor emeritus at Stanford University. Carnegie Mellon, a leading research university of the United States is known for its distinctive mix of programs in engineering, computer science, robotics, business, public policy, fine arts and the humanities.
2008 Commencement Ceremony Held
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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