Celebrating the centennial anniversary of Kyungpook National University School of Medicine
[Special column on the centennial anniversary of Kyungpook National University School of Medicine] Tae-Hwan Kwon, MD, PhD, dr.med. Dean, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine Co-chairman, Preparatory Committee for the Centennial Anniversary of Kyungpook National University School of Medicine
This year, 2023, we have had numerous events that celebrated the centennial of Kyungpook National University School of Medicine (KNUSM). In particular, on September 2nd, the centennial anniversary week of KNUSM ended on a high note with the 100th anniversary ceremony of its founding and alumni night event. A lot of wonderful and unforgettable things that have happened while preparing for the centennial anniversary events over the past year still came back to me. Rather than reflecting on the obvious facts and clear memories, the thoughts and impressions I kept in my mind while preparing for the events flashed before my eyes.
Since August of last year, 2022, when I took the position of dean, I have been under pressure to better run KNUSM, which has a long-standing history and tradition of 100 years. In particular, there was a lot of pressure to inherit the great footsteps of the esteemed professors, graduates, citizens, and faculty members who had brilliantly represented the centennial history of KNUSM.
Starting the grand opening ceremony in late November last year with the aspirations of alumni to celebrate the centennial anniversary of KNUSM, there was a series of alumni reunions in Seoul, Busan, Ulsan, Pohang, and the United States. Since the beginning of this year, there have been a number of centennial anniversary celebrations, including academic symposiums on A-Woon Lecture and medical education of Daegu & Kyungpook branch society celebrating its 20th anniversary, the historical symposium on the growth and impact of KNUSM in the modern medical history of Korea, a student festival with alumni on the green lawn campus, the memorial ceremony for Korean War Veterans, alumni meetings and press interviews, etc.
Every minute was crucial for me throughout so many events, and I was taught and deeply touched by the "Love for my (our) school" or “Affection to my (our) alma mater” by many people who constantly support KNUSM.
Among the centennial commemorative projects, the publication of the 100-year history book of the KNUSM and the establishment of the centennial memorial hall were challenging tasks. The publication of "100-Year History" has started behind schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was finally and successfully released. I would like to convey my gratitude and admiration to the members of the publication committee who have spent a long time, nights and weekends, collecting the historical records and writing "100-Year History" for the past year.
Sometimes, they needed more historical records. However, they had a heated discussion for increasing its accuracy on every word and every line of a sentence. They also needed more personnel and funds. However, one of the committee members was proud to say, "At last, I had the school spirit that I have never had for the past decades while working at school and hospital as I have collected and organized 100 years of historical records over the course of a year and a half."
Another member stated, "I was delighted to record the memories on history of the KNUSM that I had never taken into account before". I assume that the committee members must have kept the joys and hopes provided by a century-long history of the KNUSM, and I also believe that they have felt tears and despair while recording the tough modern and contemporary history of Korea as well.
We were determined to establish the centennial memorial hall, as we wanted to put all of our history, love, and passion into it. This is because we want to show our junior students what KNUSM has been doing for 100 years and who your seniors were. I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to all who contributed to the establishment of the centennial memorial hall.
Finally, all the centennial celebrations have come to an end, and our hectic routine in the school has come again. Nonetheless, I often reflect on the meaning of the large banner that is still displayed outside the building, “KNUSM, Walking a Century”, which means that KNUSM took a century-long journey toward excellence. The medical school was established in the center of Daegu in 1923 and turned out the first graduates, including 22 Koreans, in 1927. The medical school was promoted to Daegu Medical College in 1933 and KNUSM in 1952 and has built up the tradition of systematic medical education and experimental study.
KNUSM has grown as a center of medical education and research in Korea. KNUSM has preserved the health of citizens amid the pandemic of cholera in 1946 and COVID-19 in 2020 and has greatly contributed to the advancement of medical science in Korea through numerous research and medical achievements. The glory of KNUSM was built by all who have contributed to the centennial history magnificently. The bereaved families of those who fought and died for our country during the Korean War attended the centennial anniversary ceremony and received honorary diplomas on their behalf. Although they were very proud, the tears they shed are still lingered before me.
On the foundation created by the best efforts of 9,000 alumni over the last century, we have to move forward. Based on the wishes of all the alumni, we will do our utmost to promote the development and advancement of the KNUSM.
KNUSM has a great mission to cultivate qualified healthcare professionals, contribute to advances in medical knowledge and technology, and practice love for humanity through education, research, and community service. To leap forward to a world-class medical education and research institute worthy of its 100-year history, we need continued interest and involvement of faculty, students, and alumni.
In addition, we will continue to keep pursuing partnerships with other medical schools domestically and internationally in the US, Japan, Europe, and Thailand. Last but not least, I am most grateful to all those who have shown great interest and love for the centennial anniversary of KNUSM, and to MedigateNews for posting a special column on the centennial of KNUSM. All the best to the glorious future of KNUSM.