First of all, congratulations on entering Gachon University especially for the students of 2021. Last year’s entrance exam was more difficult and confusing than ever because of COVID-19. To the students who had a harder time than anybody in this unsettled situation, there is a woman who wants to welcome you so much. She is the icon of Gachon University, Gil-ya Lee. She calls herself as ‘the keeper of Gachon Univ.’ In fact, there was no ‘Interview’ section in 148th article because of COVID-19. However, President Lee felt sorry for not being able to face the freshmen and sent her congratulatory message through the G-Press.
1. What characteristic do you think is ideal for a Gachon University student?
I want to nurture talented students with soft power who have a flexible mind and insight to be well suited for the artificial intelligence generation with imagination, sensitivity and character. Therefore, Gachon Univ. educates students with innovation courses like NTree Camp and P-term system to develop their creativity and cooperative skills. Also, the college puts efforts into student’s cultivation of character that arouse the sanctity of life by sharing the crops that students raise through ‘life and sharing’ project.
2. What do you think represents Gachon University?
The infinity statue and the pinwheels, of course. The sculpture in front of the ‘Gachon building’ includes my message, “follow your infinite dreams”. Humans are very tiny like dust in the endless universe. But we are such a lord of the creation that we can analyze universe. Therefore, win through to the future, to the world with your own goal. The pinwheels also have message that goes forward constantly, overcoming adversity and failure. Pinwheel does not spin if wind doesn’t blow. It is the valuable life that progresses dynamic with pushing your way through gusty winds.
3. If you could go back to your college life, what would you want to do? Or what are some things that you recommend college students do?
If I were young, I want to travel all over the world. In my college life, the only thing I remember is studying in my shabby room when I was young. I lived in the era of Korean War, so everything was lacking and poor at that time. I envy many college students living in such an affluent society. I want to advise our students to enjoy their life with focuses on ‘job’ not on ‘workplace’. Today, the life expectancy of company is reduced and human lives longer, so you should find your own job that makes you always feel rewarded and do not lose your interest. Also, you have to search for three to four jobs to enjoy your life nobly to live the long 100 years.
4. What is the specific goal of Gachon Univ. as fourth industrial-oriented university?
College education needs to be changed to the era that machine (AI) competes with human. First, we tried out the ‘memorization’ education and changes to experience-oriented education such as ‘doing it myself’. Second, all students should complete the software (IT) course which is the core ability for the new era. Third, we invigorate ‘school-work links training’ that connects industrial sites closely. It aims to nurture talents, ingenuity, and imagination that machine can’t ever have.Gachon Univ. is the first to have the department of AI in domestic four-year-universities. Additionally, other 7 high-tech departments which lead new industry field would be established in 2022 such as smart security, the next generation semiconductor, smart city fusion course, and smart factory. In a word, if someone asks what the future of Korea will be like, I want to answer , “See Gachon University!” I will construct the future-oriented campus.
5. What is one of the best program and business in developing Gachon Univ. that you promoted, you think?
It is Gachon campus in Hawaii. Gachon is the only university in Korea that established campus in Hawaii. I am very proud of having our students learn English and international mindset. Currently, it is precious assets for students in studying abroad, getting a job and in their office life.Plus, to train creative talent, our university runs ‘NTree camp’ for two nights without a break at Ganghwa campus. Unfortunately, we could not do it last year because of Covid-19. Students can learn about design thinking that fosters creativity by themselves. They take a lesson about how to use IT software, make a team and choose the challenging topic, then solve the problem all night.
6. What do you think was the driving force that made progress of Gachon Univ.? And what things do you want to develop in future?
We have almost reached our goal to be a prestigious university, thanks to professors, employees and students. I wanted to make a college just for students, teach well, and raise employment rates naturally. To achieve them, we adjusted the number of students in each major and turned the majors to job-oriented classes. Gachon University should be not only be prestigious in Korea but also globally in the future.
7. What program in Gachon Univ. do you want to recommend to students?
I want to recommend ‘immersion course in English’ in Ganghwa campus and overseas training to ‘Gachon Global Center’ in Hawaii.
8. What is the most memorable moment as the President of Gachon University?
It is so hard to choose one, but as our rank has risen to almost the top 10 in the objective university evaluation index, an unforgettable memory comes to my mind. 20 years ago, when I just became the president of Gachon, a graduated of Kyungwon Univ. came to me and told me something like, “President, I want to run to the toilet and hide whenever they talk about college life. Because I am so ashamed that I graduated from Kyungwon Univ. Please, make this university prestigious.” She made tears and appealed to me. It broke my heart and I promised that I would raise the statue of this university to the top by putting everything in it and I wanted to make all graduates feel pride. Afterward, I’ve never forgotten her desperate, tearing eyes. I devoted myself on developing Gachon. Now, I’m glad that time has come for fruition.
9. What is the difference from other universities and what is the feature of Gachon’s specialized departments?
We operate a specialized departments on the industrial background and demand for each campus. In case of global campus, there are ICT departments which are related to Pangyo Valley industry 4.0. In case of medical campus, there are medi-bio, bio-health majors around Gil hospital.
10. Do you have any plan to move the medical campus?
Not at all. As long as Gil Hospital does not leave Incheon, it will be there.
11. Please tell us about the things that we can expect in the future of Gachon.
For the last 10 years, I have encouraged university members to make it to one of the top 10 private universities in Korea. Now, it has come close to the target by going up dramatically . However, fostering the talent on this AI generation is more important than getting the top ranks of universities in this 21th century. I felt like I followed the clouds on the hill, but the clouds moved away. Nevertheless, I think Gachon University will be a super prestigious university if we run and run constantly. I hope our students study hard to be a talented person.
I knew that the President Gil-ya Lee has a huge affection for Gachon Univ. and the students through this interview. Therefore, you just make your dreams come true without any worried because the most reliable keeper is protecting us.
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