Establishing Ajou Engineering Junior College, the forerunner of Ajou University
In 1971, Korea and France entered into an agreement for the establishment of the Korea-France Technology Junior College with the aim of exchanging technology and culture through education. Based on the agreement, Ajou Engineering Junior College, the forerunner of Ajou University, was founded in March 1973 by the Yusin Institute, which was established by Park Chang-won, the chairman of Yusin Express Tourism Co., Ltd.
For its first year, Ajou Engineering Junior College recruited 280 students to study in four departments :
Electronics Engineering, Precision Mechanical Engineering, Fermentation Chemical Engineering, and Industrial Management. The school was elevated in statusand renamed“Ajou Engineering College”one year later, producing its first graduates in 1977.
That same year, the Daewoo Institute was established by Kim Woo-jung, the chairman of Daewoo International,to fulfill his company’s corporate social responsibility andfoster the development of the high-quality human resources thatKorean society needed. Kim leveraged his personal wealth to establish the Daewoo Institute and later acquired Ajou University as well. Kim’s principle of non-intervention guaranteed the autonomy of the university, allowing Ajou University to become a model university with fair and honest management,which was uncommon among private schools in Korea at the time.
In the late 1970s, Ajou University set itself the goal of becoming the “MIT of Asia”by trainingskilled engineers and leaders capable of competing on the global stage. To achieve this goal, Ajou established humanities and social sciences departments and introduced Korea’s first“special scholarship system,”through which it sought to bringthe country’s most promising young students together and educate them. As a result, many Ajou graduates went on to study at the top universities in Korea.In 1978, nine scholarship students of Ajou University were sent to France as part of the Korea-France Culture Agreement.