Volume 11, Number 1
21 September 2004

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From the Rector

Dear Members of the Bilkent Community,

We begin the new academic year with an impressive group of new students. Relative to the current year’s pool of 1.7 million university applicants, the academic profile of the students entering Bilkent is on the rise. We did better than last year, which was in turn better than the year before. On the whole, higher percentages of students from more prominent high schools are tending to choose Bilkent.

Along with pride in success comes additional responsibility. While we are admitting more students from the cream of the crop, the level (in terms of academic preparedness) of the overall crop seems to be declining. While there still remain a number of excellent high schools and many conscientious high school teachers in the country, the academic level of the students applying to universities seems to be on the average lower than it was ten years ago. If more of the comparatively better students are choosing Bilkent, this implies that they as well as their families believe in this institution’s commitment to continually improving the educational process.

Our advisors will need to pay more attention to their students. The efforts of our faculty members to help, guide, and teach their students, and their maintenance of the superb academic rigor Bilkent stands for, are what our future depends on. The challenges and rewards our instructors face have a direct bearing on what today’s students will be capable of when they graduate. We need, the world needs, a better tomorrow, and that is the heart of educational commitment.

The Senior Administration of Bilkent is starting the new academic year with new appointments. Professor Ümit Berkman, who has been serving as Vice Rector for Administrative and Financial Affairs for 16 years, informed me this summer that he would like to leave his administrative position to devote all his time to teaching and research. We agreed that he would continue his current position until the end of September. Professor Berkman’s dedication, integrity, and performance over the years have been exemplary. While we will miss him as the longest serving senior member of the “rektörlük,” we still hope to receive his advice and guidance as he continues to serve Bilkent as full-time Professor in the Faculty of Business Administration. I am pleased to inform you that Professor Kürşat Aydoğan has agreed to become the Vice Rector for Administrative and Financial Affairs. His experience and outstanding performance as Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration and Director of the Institute of Economics and Social Sciences, coupled with his expertise in finance, assures us that we will be in good hands in the delicate field of human resources as well as in financial management. Professor Erdal Erel, who has been serving as an Associate Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration, has graciously agreed to serve as the Director of the Institute of Economics and Social Sciences. Professor Dilek Önkal also graciously agreed to an increase in her administrative responsibilities. She will be serving as the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration as well as the Acting Chair of the Department of Management. I have full confidence in the administrative skills of Dean Önkal and Director Erel, and with your support they will steer their academic units to new heights. The bylaws of Bilkent require a Dean Search Committee for the appointment of a new Dean. While Professor Önkal serves as the Acting Dean, a committee established by our Provost, Professor Abdullah Atalar, will search the world for outstanding senior candidates for the position. The committee includes Professors Güliz Ger, Erdal Erel, Donald Thompson, Erdal Arıkan, and Sübidey Togan.

Coming to terms with the loss of our beloved Dean Merih Celasun last month was a most difficult ordeal for us. We will all die one day, but we leave an imprint that continues to remain after our departure. The depth and breadth of the imprint Dean Celasun left in our hearts and minds can be seen reflected in the messages from people around the world that are posted on the web page of the Department of Economics. I reiterate my condolences to his family, students, colleagues, and friends.

Professor Metin Heper has graciously agreed to serve as the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Social and Administrative Sciences. His immense experience and dedication to Bilkent will guide us through these difficult times. The Provost’s Dean Search Committee has been established and includes Professors Ali Karaosmanoğlu, Semih Koray, Stanford Shaw, Ümit Berkman, and Talat Halman.

Dear Students,
Just as Bilkent grows and changes, so does the world. Your years in Bilkent should help you prepare for the future world. While the future is not predictable, your intellectual growth is your strongest asset that will remain with you throughout your life. Learning by getting the most from your professors and instructors in the classroom and during office hours, and making full use of the library and laboratories is essential, but not sufficient. Involvement in cultural activities, arts, sports, and volunteer services for the disadvantaged outside Bilkent should be an integral part of your Bilkent experience. I hope you will choose to enrich yourselves as much as you can.

With best wishes for a wonderful academic year.
Ali Doğramacı

Also in this issue:

Bilkent Community Mourns Prof. Celasun’s Loss

Prof. Merih Celasun, the Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Administrative and Social Sciences (FEASS), passed away August 25, 2004, at Ankara İbn-i Sina Hospital where he was being treated for leukemia. He was an internationally known economist, a leading expert on the Turkish economy, and the teacher of many academicians. He was a member of the Economics Department, where he taught graduate courses on development macroeconomics.

Merih Celasun obtained his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Mining Engineering and Operations Research from Columbia University in New York. He was previously Professor of Operations Research and Professor of Economics at the Middle East Technical University (METU). Before joining academia, he had worked at Turkey's State Planning Organization as Director of Economic Planning, and at the World Bank as Senior Economist.

A gathering to commemorate and to pay tribute to Prof. Celasun, hosted by the Economics Department at Bilkent and co-hosted by METU Economics Department, Turkish Economics Association and İktisat/İşletme ve Finans journal, was held on September 16, 2004, at the C-Block Auditorium.

The ceremony began with the Bilkent Quartet performing the Andante from Mozart's Divertimento in D, a favorite piece of Prof. Celasun. After opening speeches by Assoc. Prof. Fatma Taşkın, the Department Chair, and the Rector, Prof. Ali Doğramacı, Esin Celasun, Prof. Celasun's younger daughter, shared her memories. Among the other speakers were: Prof. Ahmet Acar, Vice Rector of METU; Dr. Ahmet Tıktık, the Undersecretary in charge of Turkey's State Planning Organization and a former Ph.D. student of Prof. Celasun's, and Prof. Metin Heper, the Acting Dean of FEASS, who talked about Prof. Celasun's traits as a fellow administrator and a colleague. Prof. Halim Doğrusöz and Prof. Oktar Türel of METU Industrial Engineering and Economics Departments, respectively, Prof. Ercan Uygur, the President of the Turkish Economic Association, and Mr. Atila Candır, Vice President of TESEV, shared memories with the audience as long-time friends and colleagues of Prof. Celasun's. Assoc. Prof. Serdar Sayan of the Bilkent Economics Department and Assoc. Prof. Sibel Güven of MNG Holding addressed the audience as admiring former students of Prof. Celasun's.

Prof. Celasun will be sadly missed not only by his family, but also by large numbers of colleagues and former students.

The Economics Department continues to keep the virtual condolences book to send condolences and express their feelings about Prof. Celasun on its web page at http://www.econ.bilkent.edu.tr, where a copy of his biography can also be found.

From the Dean of Students

Dear Students,
Welcome all, for the brand new Academic Year of 2004-2005.

As each and every one of you enters through the gates of Bilkent University, seize the moment and imagine an academic world of new encounters, signs and gifts. As you meet up with fellow students, faculty members, subjects, projects and many other resources of the Bilkent community, you will also be a conducting a voyage of inner self-discovery that will lead you to the values of both academia and life itself.

Each encounter will provide a means of access to a complete new experience.

As you take further steps and progress, you as a member of this society be the difference, be a vehicle of change on campus. Participate and get involved. Go and start a new club, be a member of Radio Bilkent, join a community service, help others, learn the idea of giving and sharing, discover volunteerism, introduce a project, be the innovator and risk-taker, create signs, leave fulfilling marks, move ahead! As you develop skills such as social networking, team building, negotiating, and problem solving you will also be shaping your future. Visualize yourself in the years ahead of you and do not let the future happen without you. Set goals in life.

Smile. Be happy. Your success will bring you contentment that will also generate positivity; as Aristotle said, the duty of the human being is to be happy.

Bilkent University is a gift, it is an academic phenomenon of a great mind with a vision and a mission. Please cherish and appreciate all the social and academic resources presented to you that will facilitate your understanding of self-existence.

Wishing you all a wonderful Academic Year.
Perin Oztin,
Dean of Students

Ready to Study Abroad? Now is Your Chance!

The Student Exchange Program gives students the opportunity to study in the United States or Europe for the Spring 2005 semester or the Fall 2005 semester, or for the entire 2005-2006 academic year. Here is your chance to experience a culture different from your own. Students who have a minimum CGPA of 3.00 and are currently in their second year or third year (third-year students may apply only for Spring 2005 to universities in Europe) are eligible to apply for the program. European exchanges are done within the European Union Erasmus Programs starting this spring.

Applicants must submit a CV and a statement of purpose along with the application form to the Registrar's Office. (The form can be obtained at the Registrar's Office)

The application deadline is October 8.

Qualifying students will be selected for initial interviews, which are scheduled for October 12-13. Successful candidates will be announced on October 15. Candidates who will study in the United States are required to submit TOEFL scores by February 10, 2005.

All students who plan to apply for the Student Exchange Program should contact Ayşegül Başol or Ceren Genç at ext. 2435 or 3218 for more information.

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