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1945 - 1950 Foundation

Seoul National University was established as the first national and comprehensive university of Korea in 1946, aiming to produce elites who will lead in the every sector of the newly liberated country.

  • Aug. 15, 1945 Korea was liberated from Japan after 36 years of colonial rule
  • Sept. 9, 1945 - Aug. 15, 1948 United States Military Government in Korea (USAMGIK) ruled South Korea, and Department of Education managed higher education affairs
  • Sept. 16, 1945 The Department of Education organized Korean Committee on Education with seven notable Korean educators who will give information and advice on Korean education matters
  • Nov. 15, 1945 The Department of Education organized National Committee on Educational Planning with about 100 Korean academic leaders to make a plan to reform the previous Japanese education, and the first meeting held.
  • Nov. 23, 1945 The National Committee on Educational Planning suggested the basic scheme of educational system in the newly liberated country.
    - Introduction of 6-3-3-4 system (6 years in elementary school, 3 in middle school, 3 in high school, and 4 in higher education)
    - Changing the Japanese academic year (April to March) into the American one (September to August)
    - Establishing the first national university as a four year comprehensive university.
  • Dec. 19, 1945 YU Uck-Kyum appointed as the Korean Director of Department of Education, US Army Military Government in Korea
  • Apr. 1946 The Department of Education attempted to integrate Seoul Medical College (formerly Kejio Medical College) and Seoul University's College of Medicine, but failed due to objections of both institutions. The department decided to merge the schools into a comprehensive university.
  • July 13, 1946 Plan to establish Seoul National University as a comprehensive university, merging several existing schools announced by the Directors of Department of Education (Director: Aubrey O. Pittenger, Korean Director: YU Uck Kyum)
  • Aug. 22, 1946 Ordinance 102 Establishment of Seoul National University promulgated.
    The purpose of the ordinance formulated as “improved facilities for higher education will be made available to the people of Korea for the betterment of themselves as individuals and the Korean people as a Nation"
    The method formulated as “merger of certain existing educational facilities into a reorganized Seoul National University….recruitment of the best available teaching staff….the elimination of inefficiencies in present operations….to raise the academic standards of the university to the point where they are equivalent to those of leading institutions of higher learning throughout the world."
    Dis-establishment of existing schools/university: Seoul Commercial College, Seoul Dental College, Seoul Law College, Seoul Medical College, Seoul Mining College, Seoul Normal College, Seoul Technical College, Seoul University, Seoul Women's Normal College, Suwon Agricultural and Forestry College.
    Establishment within Seoul National University: 9 colleges (Colleges of Agriculture and Forestry, Commerce, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Law, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Medicine; including School of Nursing and Nursing Education), and Graduate School
  • Aug. 22, 1946 - Oct. 24, 1947 Dr. Harry Bidwell Ansted, who had been the president of Seoul University, served as the 1st president of Seoul National University
  • Sept. 9 - 18, 1946 Student registration period: 8,319 students were expected to enroll, but only about 5,000 of them actually enrolled due to the opposition against the ordinance.
  • Sept. 18, 1946 First class held at the College of Law by Professor KIM Jung Han
  • Oct. 15, 1946 Seoul National University had opened with 9 Colleges and 1 Graduate School by Oct. 15, 1946
  • Seoul National University's Colleges/Departments in 1946
    Colleges Departments of Campus Date of Opening
    College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (17 Departments) Liberal Arts major
    (Korean Language and Literature,
    English Language and Literature,
    German Language and Literature,
    French Language and Literature,
    Chinese Language and Literature,
    Linguistics, History, Sociology, Religious Studies, Philosophy, Psychology, Political Science)
    Dongsung-dong Sept. 18, 1946
    Sciences major
    (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Biology)
    College of Fine Arts(13) Fine Arts major
    (Painting, Oriental Painting,
    Sculpture, Design)
    Music major
    (Piano, Violin, Cello, Contrabass, Wind Music, Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Composition, Music Education)
    College of Agriculture and Forestry (7) Agricultural Studies, Forestry, Agricultural Engineering, Veterinary Medicine, Agricultural Chemistry, Agricultural Biology, Agricultural Economy Suwon City
    College of Commerce (2) Economics, Commerce Jongam-dong Oct. 10, 1946
    College of Dentistry (1) Dentistry Sogong-dong Sept. 18, 1946
    College of Education (9) Education, Korean Literature, English Literature, Social Studies, Mathematics, Physics & Chemistry, Biology, Home Economics, Physical Education Euljiro
    College of Engineering (9) Architecture, Mechanical Engineering, Textile Engineering, Metallurgy Engineering, Electric Engineering, Aero & Naval Architecture, Mining Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering Gongneung-dong
    College of Law (1) Law Cheongnyangni-dong
    College of Medicine (1) Medicine Yeongeon-dong Oct. 14, 1946
    Graduate School - liberal arts major (12) Korean Language, Korean Literature, Korean History, Asian History, English Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Ethics, Education, Law Dongsung-dong Sept. 18, 1946
    Graduate School - sciences major (20) Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Textiles, Electricity, Chemical Engineering, Physiology, and others
    SNU decided to have its founding anniversary on October 15, since this was the day when all the colleges had opened
  • 1946 - 1948 SNU accepted transfer admissions from other universities due to lack of students: 346 (1946), 8 (1947), 172 (1948), and 158 (1949)
  • Sept. 1946 - June 1947 Large number of students and faculty members strongly opposed the Ordinance on the Establishment of Seoul National University, and went on strike. More than 4,000 students refused to register, and hundreds of faculty members resigned from their positions.
  • Nov. 22, 1946 Amendment request for the ordinance made by a group of students: a change of the officials of SNU Board of Regents as non-government officials, granting students and faculty autonomy, appointment of Korean president, and the resignation of minister of education.
  • Mar. 14, 1947 Ordinance on the Establishment of Seoul National University amended after accepting the students' request
  • Mar. 17, 1947 1,720 students re-admitted, 124 newly registered, 4,801 permanently expelled.
  • May 6, 1947 SNU Board of Regents re-organized with nine professors representing respective colleges, replacing previous members from the government.
  • May 12, 1947 380 professors, two thirds of SNU faculty, forced to resign by the US military administration for having opposed the ordinance, with only 140 left.
  • June 13, 1947 SNU Board of Regents decided to re-admit the students who had been expelled for opposing the ordinance
    Total number of students were 8,040, and 4,956 of them had been expelled. 3,200 of the expelled students were re-admitted between August to September 1947. About 800 of them were not allowed to be readmitted, while approximately 700 did not apply for readmission.
  • July 11, 1947 1st commencement. Five colleges - Liberal Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Law, Commerce, and Medicine - conferred bachelor's degrees on 215 graduates.
  • Oct. 25, 1947 A Korean professor LEE Chun-ho took the office of president
  • Aug. 10, 1947 SNU's first and second honorary doctorates awarded to two US Army Generals: General Douglas E. MacArthur and General John R. Hodge
    SNU Honorary Doctorate Awarded (1947-1953)
    # Awardees Title Awarded Date
    1st Douglas E. MacArthur US Army General Aug. 10, 1947
    2nd John R. Hodge US Army General Aug. 10, 1947
    3rd RHEE Syngman President of Korea (1948-1960) July 15, 1949
    4th Philip C. Jessup US Ambassador-at-Large (1949-1953) Jan. 13, 1950
    5th John Foster Dulles US Secretary of State (1953-1959) June 23, 1950
    6th John J. Muccio United States Ambassador to Korea (1949-1952) Sept. 6, 1952
    7th James A. Van Fleet US Army General Jan. 31, 1953
  • Aug. 15, 1948 Republic of Korea formally established
  • Sept. 27, 1949 Presidential Decree issued that organizing student communities should be totally forbidden except Student National Defense Corpse, a student association organized by the government on Apr. 20, 1949.
  • 1950 The College of Music integrated its nine departments into three - Departments of Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, and Composition
  • May 12, 1950 4th commencement
  • Sept. 30, 1950 Seoul School of Pharmacy, a private school, was incorporated into the University as the College of Pharmacy
Last updated in 2016