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The dream of becoming a
global research-oriented university

PNU is Korea’s first national university, having been established on May 15, 1946. While leading a path to industrialization and democratization, the university has fulfilled its mission as a regional hub university, actively engaged in the great journey of Korea’s modern history. PNU‘s dream of becoming a global research-oriented university is unfolding as it strives to create a university of the future by working for the betterment of students and the community.

Funds for establishing a national university raised through donations

Despite a difficult post-war environment, with no system that shapes a nation in place after the country gained independence in 1945, there was great passion to foster the human resources that later would lead Korea.
At the time, the authorities of Gyeongsangnam-do focused their energies on establishing a national university, which was the dream expressed by local citizens, and so the leadership applied all of its efforts in procuring KRW 10 million for the university foundation fund, which had been proposed by the United States Military Government in Korea. In a show of regional spirit, residents and businesses together donated a total of nearly KRW 10,330,000, well above the original goal. The money was used to fund the establishment of Korea’s first national university, while additional donations were used to procure a large number of books to fill the new university library.

Korea’s first national university launched on May 15, 1946

On May 15, 1946, Gyeongsangnam-do Academic Division Director In-Ku Yun and School Affairs Advisor Lieutenant Eddy worked with the relevant agencies and obtained the final approval of the education ministries of Korea and the United States to confirm the establishment of Pusan National University. Its original official name was Pusan National College, and it opened with the two departments of humanities and maritime affairs.

  • 1946 Old school building in Daeyeon-dong1946 Old school building in Daeyeon-dong
  • 1947 Temporary school building in Seodaeshin-dong1947 Temporary school building in Seodaeshin-dong

First university president In-Ku Yun sets school philosophy as “Truth, Freedom and Service” at Saebyeokbeol, the university site

By 1953, Pusan National College comprised six colleges: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Law, the College of Commerce, the College of Engineering, the College of Pharmacy, and the College of Medicine, and so on April 3 of that year the college was promoted to a comprehensive university by obtaining a presidential sanction.

On September 15 of the same year, the Decree on the Establishment of National Universities was revised and, with the Presidential Decree on the Establishment of Pusan National University being announced, PNU was officially launched as a comprehensive national university. On November 26, Dr. In-Ku Yun was appointed the university’s first president.

  • 1953 Appointment ceremony for PNU's first president, Yoon In-gu1953 Appointment ceremony for PNU's first president, In-Ku Yun
  • Truth/Freedom/ServiceTruth/Freedom/Service

U.S. Military Command General Richard Whitcomb impressed with In-Ku Yun's campus layout and provides full support

PNU’s first president, In-Ku Yun, faced difficulties finding a site after launching Korea’s first national university in 1946, so he met with U.S. Army general Richard Whitcomb, who was commander of the UN Forces Military Command in Busan at the time, and showed him the bell-shaped campus layout that Yun had designed. The president also presented his vision and dreams for education in Korea and asked for assistance.

General Whitcomb, who was moved by President Yun’s passion and dedication, stepped up to persuade the president of South Korea, Syngman Rhee, and the governor of Gyeongsangnam-do to procure a site spanning across more than 1.65 million square meters in the Jangjeon-dong neighborhood in the district of Geumjeong-gu, Busan and successfully acquiring the land. General Whitcomb had the Korean Civil Aid Corporation (KCAC) program assist with facility construction of the new campuson the site that was received free of charge, and the U.S. Corps of Engineers was mobilized to connect the roads between Oncheon-dong and PNU.

  • U.S. Army General Richard WhitcombU.S. Army General Richard Whitcomb
  • PNU Dongnae Campus ground plan devised by Yoon In-guPNU Dongnae Campus ground plan devised by In-Ku Yun
  • 1954 PNU President Yoon In-gu in front of the PNU Dongnae Campus construction site1954 PNU President In-Ku Yun in front of the PNU Dongnae Campus construction site

Achieving the dreams and visions of the next 100 years by recognizing PNU’s proud history and traditions

PNU procured the site for the main campus on an area of 1.65 million square meters of land on the eastern skirt of Geumjeong Mountain in early 1954 and in December of that same year, the Hyowon Building construction ceremony was held to herald the start of the ‘Age of the Hyowon Campus’ in earnest. The Saebyeokbeol Hyowon Campus became the exemplification of the university motto of truth, freedom and service, and the new campus served as the permanent cradle of higher education and research. Based on its proud tradition and history, PNU is making an energetic leap to the top tier of the world.

  • President Yoon’s original sketch of campusPresident Yun’s original sketch of campus
  • 1961 The ‘Rainbow Gate’ and original administration building (currently the Humanities Building)1961 The ‘Rainbow Gate’ and original administration building (currently the Humanities Building)
  • Construction ceremony of the Dongnae Hyowon School BuildingConstruction ceremony of the Dongnae Hyowon School Building
  • Construction ceremony of the Dongnae Hyowon School BuildingConstruction ceremony of the Dongnae Hyowon School Building
  • Panoramic view of PNU’s Busan campusPanoramic view of PNU’s Busan campus