Last Saturday, April 3, marked the 106th anniversary of the birth of Bilkent University’s beloved founder, Prof. İhsan Doğramacı. Each year, Bilkent celebrates Prof. Doğramacı’s birthday as Bilkent Day, with events including a conference and a Bilkent Symphony Orchestra concert.This year, both events took place online. The Bilkent Day Conference, which was held via Zoom, began at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The program opened with the showing of a video highlighting some of the episodes in Prof. Doğramacı’s life and continued with remarks by Prof. Gülsev Kale, chair of the Board of Trustees.
In her talk, Prof. Kale shared her personal memories of Prof. Doğramacı and his achievements. “Hocabey was a world leader and a man of wisdom, who pioneered the application of universal values for the well-being of humanity,” she stated. “Counting the number of years in a life is meaningless when it comes to those who spend their lives filled with enthusiasm and love that is multiplied by the works they create and the good and beautiful things they produce.
“We are members of a large family who have grown up in the ‘home of knowledge’ he established, and gone forth across the country and around the world, carrying with us what we believe in our hearts and what we have learned in our minds. “Dear Professor, thanks to you, all children and young people can have dreams as big and high as the heavens, and we who grew up under your guidance continue to walk hand in hand, inspired by your ideals, toward your goals. I remember you with gratitude and longing every day, not just today, and pay my respects to your dear memory.”
After Prof. Kale’s remarks, Bilkent’s rector, Prof. Abdullah Atalar, gave a presentation on “The State of the University.” In his presentation, Rector Atalar highlighted the university’s most recent educational and research accomplishments. The information he shared included statistical and other data concerning the student body, faculty members, research at Bilkent, the library, university budget items and other developments in the past two years, including the COVID-19 pandemic period.At 8 p.m. on the same day, the BSO concert, which featured pianist Gülsin Onay, was broadcast online. The first piece on the program was Mozart’s Concerto for Piano No. 12, played by the orchestra with Ms. Onay as soloist. Next, BSO members Almat Zhaylaubayev (oboe), Nusret İspir (clarinet), Mustafa Kaplan (horn) and Ozan Evruk (bassoon) joined the pianist in performing the Quintet for Piano, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon in E-flat major by the same composer. To conclude the concert, Ms. Onay played Chopin’s Polonaise in A-flat major, a favorite piece of Prof. Doğramacı’s.