A Welcome Message from the Dean
Welcome to the College of Liberal Arts at Yonsei University!
Whether it is the calm rain of autumn or the white snow of winter, we unconsciously pass by the busts of two famous humanities scholars: historian Jeong In-bo in front of Widang Hall and educationalist Choi Hyun-bai in front of Oesol Hall.
As we all know, Yonsei University College of Liberal Arts was formerly known as Yonhee College of Literature. In 1915, Yonhee College was established and at the center was the College of Literature. During the Japanese colonial period, not only the poet Yun Dong-ju but also the professors and students of our College played many important roles. Many scholars and alumni contributed to the school and the community as Yonhee College expanded to Yonsei University. However, the brightest moments of the College of Liberal Arts is without question during the Japanese colonial period when Yonhee College existed. Now, when material things seem to be at the center of all values, we look back and refer to the days when Yonhee's scholars fiercely lived and survived the 1920s and 30s as the ¡°the brightest days.¡±
But that¡¯s not the only reason the period is referred to as such. Although it was a time of economic poverty, the scholars lived through it silently but resolutely to the best of their ability. The academic achievements gained in those days were so high because reality was not confined to an ivory tower.
Compared to those days, we are living more comfortably. Nevertheless, it's difficult to answer the question, whether our passion for academics, our achievements, and our contributions to the community are better than they were a hundred years ago. Of course the times have changed. It is difficult to simply compare the Yonhee College of yesterday with the Yonsei University of today due to the different situation and social environment. But there are still things that do not change.
One of those things are our human values.
Now everyone is talking about the ¡®fourth industrial revolution¡¯ and the advent of the AI era and hyper-connected society. During these times, there is a mixture of skepticism about what the humanities can do. These doubts even exist within our department. However, during this process of rapid change in our society, I still believe the most important thing is humanities.
No matter how much material value seems to prevail, each year many talented students still enter the liberal arts college. To continue the value of our liberal arts education, many researchers study hard to create new methodologies to respond to the changes of time. Therefore all members of the college of liberal arts should have confidence that at the center of social change is ¡°us.¡±
Internally, we are armed with our academic rigor and externally as members of society we can try to communicate with the public to spread human values. As we pass the busts of the two scholars, we remember those who came before us and strive to live up to their expectations. Academic depth and public communication are not two different paths, but one.
Members and visitors of Yonsei University College of Liberal Arts, let¡¯s continue down the same path. I wish you all good health and success.
February 1, 2020
Dean, College of Liberal Arts