Kemal Kurdaş - METU President 1961-1969

We commemorate Kemal Kurdaş, the legendary president of the Middle East Technical University, on the 6th anniversary of his death and express our deep gratitude once again for all of his contributions in bringing our university to the position in the country and in the world.


From the Government to the University

“The frequently asked question in those days was: There is a university called Middle East Technical University in Ankara which was founded recently. Would you be interested in the vacant presidency position? This came from many people...Shortly after, the President of the Board of Trustees, Orhan Mersinli, offered me the position of the President of the Middle East Technical University. I accepted it. (p. 26)

In November 1961, I quit my job at the Ministry of Finance and started my job as the President of the Middle East Technical University. I worked in this position for 8 years until the end of November 1969.

For the first 5 years after it was established, the university provided education services in the barracks situated in the gardens of the Grand National Assembly, the old service workshop and the Retirement Fund building. It did not have any private-registered buildings of its own.

On November 21, 1961, I started to work as the President of METU. On March 2, 1962, we laid the foundation for the building of the Faculty of Architecture. On December 3, 1961, we started planting the first trees on the grounds of METU.

In 1969, METU became one of the most modern campuses in the world, and the number of students increased 10 times, while the number of full-time faculty members increased 8 times in 8 years; it became a university which had a good reputation everywhere with its education, research and publications (s.32)...” 

He, was the legendary President of METU. He gave a spirit to an idea, he is one of the most important milestones of METU.

Kemal Kurdaş who passed away on April 19, 2011, will live on through his masterpiece forever. 

 Kemal Kurdaş. ODTÜ Yıllarım “Bir Hizmetin Hikayesi”. A publication of ODTÜ Geliştirme Vakfı, Ankara:1998.