The 100th anniversary hall commemorating the centenary of Dongguk University (DU) is about to be unveiled at Gyeong-ju campus. The opening ceremony will be held on 22nd November 2009.
DU was founded by Korean Buddhists in 1906, the latter period of the Choson dynasty, for the purpose of cultivating men of talent who would help to avert the imminent catastrophe of national dissolution posed by Japanese colonization. Indeed, there were times in the last century when DU was in real danger of closing its campus, most notably during the Korean War, when Donggukians witnessed a total demolition of their campus as despotic regimes tried to interfere with academic autonomy. Partly because of this arduous journey, and partly because of the history of those who sacrificed themselves for Dongguk, the 100th anniversary hall holds a lot of meanings.
Students are very aware of the historical allusions; however, there is still some argument over the anniversary hall’s location. For example, people are curious about why Gyeong-ju campus was chosen as the site instead of Seoul. "Both Gyeong-ju and Seoul campuses carry the name of Dongguk. It is absurd to classify them into different schools," said Shim Ku-taek, a spokesperson for The Team of Operations & Maintenance Affairs. "Both Gyeong-ju and Seoul campuses embody the ethos of Dongguk, in spite of the fact that Gyeong-ju campus was built merely 31 years ago," he added. Also, students want to know why the anniversary hall is similar in design to Myeongjingwan , a famous building located on the Seoul campus. "Some may argue that the anniversary hall should have had a different design. But, by making it look the same as Myeongjingwan, we have tried to emphasize as well as harmonize the shared histories of Gyeong-ju and Seoul”, explained Shim. "Nevertheless, not all of the two buildings’ features are the same. As a way of affirming the Buddhist tradition, we have used an original lotus flower (the school flower of DU) pattern for Anniversary Hall".
The 100th anniversary hall will be important not only for commemorating the centenary of DU's birth and providing convenient facilities, but also for instilling in Donggukians a sense of collective pride in their university. It gives students at Gyong-ju campus a sense of pride and affinity with DU. "It used to be hard for me to find a sense of belonging between Seoul and Gyong-ju," said Kim Ye-sin, a Management department student. "But after seeing the similarities between the 100th anniversary hall and Myeongjingwan, I can now see that Gyong-ju is part of Dongguk."
Park Ji-hyun .
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