Hakan Ersiz, Kemal Kurdaş Statue

The opening ceremony of the memorial statue of Kemal Kurdaş, which was built by his family and students, was held on 15 January 2019 in order to commemorate our former President Kemal Kurdaş who played a key role in the establishment and success of our university. At the ceremony, President Prof. Dr. Mustafa Verşan Kök gave a speech : “Today, we are gathered here for the opening ceremony of this statute built by the family and students of Kemal Kurdaş, who had great services, challenges and achievements in his 91-year life, served as the President of METU during the period of 1961-69 and provided great service to our University and who is always commemorated with love, respect and gratitude. As we all know, the President Kemal Kurdaş took office on November 1961 as the President of METU at the age of 41 leaving the Ministry of Finance... He explains the reason beyond this motive was the realization of his desire to raise an outward generation who is in touch with modern knowledge and technology, and knows at least one foreign language in Turkey. In addition, one of the reasons that attracted Mr. Kurdaş to METU was his struggle to combat the barrenness of Ankara, which disturbed him since his childhood. The first tree festival was made a few weeks after his inauguration and thus the afforestation works became a tradition that has been going on for years and turned into a afforestation festival celebrated with our students, academic and administrative staff and alumni. The afforestation program was deemed worthy of the International Ağa Han Architectural Award in 1995. Today we are proud of METU forest created by our President Kemal Kurdaş. Mr. Kurdaş demonstrated an excellent management skill to transform the resources he received during his office into investment, buildings and infrastructure. He declared mobilization to attract and support the most qualified faculty members, administrative staff and students to METU. He brought many successful scientists within the country and from all over the world to METU. He reinforced the METU culture that emphasizes merit and service and took part and left a big mark in the creation of METU spirit and METU traditions. We, METU community, will protect the legacy of Kemal Kurdaş and carry his name to future generations. We will do this not only as a duty of loyalty to Kemal Kurdaş, but also to protect the history, values and spirit of our University. I would like to extend my appreciation primarily to his children, Gülseren Kurdaş and Osman Kurdaş, and then his valuable family, former students of Kurdaş who supported the construction of the statute through their donations, to our esteemed alumni and the sculptor Hakan Ersiz who made the statute and our Design Office for its design as they contributed to commemoration of him once again in the inauguration of this statue.”
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