Brief History of Kim Il Sung University

Kim Il Sung University was established under the benevolent care of the peerlessly great persons and has developed into a university associated with their exploits. It is the central base for training nation's cadres and the most prestigious institution of education and science in the DPRK.

Regarding education and the training of national cadres as the most important in state affairs on which hinges the destiny of the country and nation, President Kim Il Sung initiated the establishment of the university and gave detailed guidance from the initial stage to completion of its construction under the complicated situation of the country after liberation.

A support committee for university construction was formed including democratic personages of all social strata and educationists in November 1945 and a preparation committee was organized for establishing the university in May 1946.

President Kim Il Sung sent his invitation cards to teachers and scholars across the country to make up for understaffed professorship. He helped properly set the criterions for the university admission so that the sons and daughters of the working people could have a free access to university learning. He took benevolent measures to allow the university to use large and well-located buildings in Pyongyang as university buildings, dormitories and dining halls.

Kim Il Sung University celebrates October 1, 1946 as its founding day.

The Korean people made the first university of new Korea bear the august name of President Kim Il Sung, the hero of the nation and peerless patriot.

At the time of its establishment, it consisted of 7 faculties and 24 departments. Faculties were history and literature faculty, economy and law faculty, physics and mathematics faculty, engineering faculty, agriculture faculty and transport engineering faculty. Sixty eight renowned scholars like To Sang Rok, Pak Shi Hyong, Kim Su Gyong, Kim Kwang Jin, Kim Sok Hyong, Won Hong Gu, Sin Ku Hyon, Kye Ung Sang, Im Rok Jae and others taught the initial batches of the university students that numbered well over 1 500.

From December 1946 the university students were supplied with seasonal uniforms and from September 1947 scholarships, thus completely free from worries of school fees.

President Kim Il Sung and anti-Japanese war heroine Kim Jong Suk carefully helped finalize the designs of university uniforms and cap badge.

The university teachers were also provided with necessaries on a preferential basis, and houses for teachers were built near the campus in June 1949.

By the year 1948 the educational and scientific foundation of the university was further furnished.

In July 1948 the engineering faculty and transport engineering faculty seceded from the university and developed into Pyongyang Industrial College (now Kim Chaek University of Technology) and medical faculty into Pyongyang Medical College and agricultural faculty into Pyongyang Agricultural College(now Wonsan University of Agriculture) respectively.

Graduate school was set up in May 1947, evening college in February 1948 and teacher-training correspondence college in September 1948, laying further foundation for training more national cadres. By June 1950 the number of faculties increased from 7 at the time of establishment to 10, classes from 30 to 128, teachers from 68 to 173, students from 1 500 to 3 800. Kye Ung Sang, Won Hong Gu and other teachers became the first academic titles and degree holders.

Unveiling ceremony of the university's new building on Ryongnam Hill took place with splendor in the presence of President Kim Il Sung on October 10, 1948.

Kim Il Sung University produced its first 19 graduates on December 28, 1949 (13 from Physics department and 6 from mathematics department).

President Kim Il Sung participated in the first graduation ceremony and congratulated the graduates.

On June 25, 1950 broke out the Fatherland Liberation War (the Korean War).

The second graduation ceremony took place on June 30, 1950 and congratulated 271 graduates.

A great number of undergraduate students, graduate students and teachers volunteered to join the army with the start of the war and many of them were dispatched to the southern part of Korea as members of political work team.

As instructed by President Kim Il Sung, the university went on with its teaching and research even during the grim war years.

Confident of the victory in the war, President Kim Il Sung took an important measure of recalling the students in the army back to their university and colleges. He visited the university which was situated in Paeksong-ri (the then Paekjon-ri, Jasan-myon, Sunchon County, South Phyongan Province), specified the direction of the university work during wartime and showed an original blueprint for post-war rehabilitation.

The 3rd graduation ceremony of the university took place in Paeksong-ri on December 28, 1952, which saw 253 students graduating from the university.

After the war, the reconstruction of the university buildings and dormitory was completed in a short period and the students and teaching staff came back to Pyongyang and everything was put on its normal track.

In October 1956 graduate badge and student badge were made for the first time and the first meeting of graduates was held on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the university.

In the post-war years the students and teaching staff actively participated in several reconstructing and new building projects including West Pyongyang Stadium(now Kim Il Sung Stadium) and Taesongsan Funfair.

Vigorous campaign was conducted to firmly establish Juche and overcome big-power chauvinism and dogmatism in the education of the university.

Nuclear physics department and other new departments came into being and optical instrument and experimental apparatus factory went into operation, further consolidating the material foundation of the university.

The university started to teach foreign students since 1955.

The revolutionary activities of the great leader Comrade Kim Jong Il in the university from September 1960 to March 1964 marked an opportunity of crucial importance since the university greeted a new period of prosperity in its development.

On September 1, 1960 when he entered the Kim Il Sung University, the great leader Comrade Kim Jong Il recited in a passionate tone the poem "O Korea, I Will Add Glory to Thee" reflecting a firm determination he made for the era and revolution, the motherland and people on Ryongnam Hill. He published around 1 800 works in his university years, providing precious guidelines to be adhered to in the work of the university. As a common student, he participated in internship programme in a textile machinery factory (April 21, 1961~May 8, 1961), the construction project to widen the road from Washan-dong to Ryongsong (May 15~June 4, 1961) and military training in Oun-dong (August 20~October 4, 1962). He wrote research essays in different fields like "On Reviewing the Unification of Three Kingdoms", "On the Characteristics and Aggressive Nature of Modern Imperialism", "Validity of Our Party's Policy on Developing the Local Economy", etc. and published his graduation paper titled "The Status and Role of County in Socialist Construction" in March 1964.

Kim Il Sung University has further developed, from 1960s to the beginning of the 2010s, into the university of Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il which regards the faithfulness to the Party and the leader as its foremost lifeline, the model university in training the revolutionary talented personnel.

The university erected the statue of President Kim Il Sung on Ryongnam Hill, established the revolutionary museum in the main building of the university and also established the museum of Comrade Kim Jong Il's revolutionary activities in July 1974.

Several faculties such as physics faculty, mathematics and dynamics faculty, philosophy faculty, geology faculty, automation faculty, energy faculty, etc. were newly organized or seceded from the existing faculties and became independent faculties, so the university has been further expanded with more comprehensive and wider academic disciplines. In the early 1980s the university had 16 faculties, 10 independent research institutes including catalyst institute, over 200 departments and 100 research laboratories.

Brisk academic exchanges were conducted with many foreign universities like Far Eastern Federation University(Russia), Yanbian University (China), Osaka Economics and Law University (Japan) and so on. The university also conducted book exchanges with many universities like Moscow National University (Russia), Peking University (China), Berlin Humboldt University (Germany), Panama University (Panama), San Marco University (Peru) and others.

Thanks to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, Building No 1 of the university was completed in October 1965, together with the Science Library with a massive collection of two million books in October 1970 and Building No 2 in 1972.

Superb gymnasium was erected at the university in 1989 prior to the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students, and towards the 50th anniversary of the founding of the university its campus got expanded with a large dormitory quarters newly built.

On December 7, 1996, Kim Jong Il gave an on-the-spot guidance to the university looking into its achievements in teaching and research and left programmatic instructions. He also had a photo taken with the faculty of the university and watched students' art performance.

After his visit, the university set up in large size the on-the-spot instruction boards of the three commanders of Mt. Paektu in 1997, front gate inscribed with the great General's autograph and the monument to their revolutionary activities in 2001.

During the period between the late 1990s and 2010, the faculties of Law, Automation and Korean Language and Literature were upgraded to Law College, Computer Science College and Literature College and the scale and educational content of the University further expanded with the establishment of Finance College, Faculty of Electronics and Automation, Faculty of Dynamics and Faculty of Materials Science. Institute of Social Sciences and the Institute of Natural Sciences were also set up in 2001 with the aim of training world-class scholars. In October 2019, several colleges were renamed: Law College into the Faculty of Law, Literature College into the Faculty of Korean Language & Literature, Finance College into the Faculty of Finance, College of Information Science into the Faculty of Information Science, College of Forest Science into the Faculty of Forest Science and College of Distance Education into the Faculty of Distance Education.

Chairman Kim Jong Il showed a deep care to make sure that the university's graduation diploma could come out with the portrait of President Kim Il Sung and graduation badge were newly made and awarded to all graduates of Kim Il Sung University.

He saw to it that that an up-to-date swimming complex was built on the campus in 2009 and a modern E-library in 2010 at the main building that was rebuilt for the purpose. He sent his handwritten adage clarifying the university's educational goals for making a leap forward to a world-class university. Visiting the university on four occasions from March 2009 to April 2010, he looked round the newly built natatorium, E-library and education and science exhibition hall, accompanied by the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un on December 11, 2009 and April 12, 2010.

In May 2010, Pyongyang Medical College, Sariwon Kye Ung Sang Agricultural College and Pyongyang Agricultural College affiliated to Kim Il Sung University Council, however, they seceded from it in October 2019.

Entering the new era of Juche revolution, Kim Il Sung University has achieved new successes which would glorify its history under the warm care of the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un.

The respected Comrade directed great efforts to develop Kim Il Sung University into a world-class university, central base of educational and scientific research institutions of the country and the base of international academic exchanges to suit the needs of the developing reality.

The respected Comrade Kim Jong Un received the letter from the professors and researchers of Kim Il Sung University on December 30, 2011 and sent his handwritten reply, praising their efforts to develop the university into a world leading university.

An unveiling ceremony of the statue of the great leader Comrade Kim Jong Il took place on the campus splendidly on October 1, 2013 and the newly built revolution museum was opened to the public.

In April 2012, he allowed the university student badge to bear the portrait of smiling President Kim Il Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il and approved the design of emblem of Kim Il Sung University.

On September 27, 2016 he sent the historic letter "On the Basic Tasks Facing Kim Il Sung University in the New Era of the Juche Revolution". In his letter he warmly congratulated the entire teaching staff and students on the 70th founding anniversary of the university, summarized its 70-year-long history and clearly briefed on the path the university should follow as required by the new era of Juche revolution.

True to the lifetime instructions of the great General, the General Secretary made sure that two apartment blocks were built into skyscrapers near the university, visited the construction site three times, showing warm care and provided the educators of the university with 300 super apartments in October 2013. And he again provided the teachers and researchers of the university with over 1700 apartments in the newly built Ryomyong Street in 2017.

In the 2010s Buildings No 3 and No 4, chemistry faculty building, new dormitories and dining halls were built anew, and Building No 2, dormitory No 14 and printing factory made a facelift in the latest fashion.

Continuous education, distance education, in-service training and other forms of its non-regular education have been bolstered and the research and teaching ranks of the university strengthened along with the increase of world-class academics. Many new disciplines were explored and big stride made in improving the contents and methods of education. At present Kim Il Sung University has 21 faculties including faculty of distance education and faculty of refresher-course . It is now making innovative successes to further its quality education on the basis of knowledge, zeal and creativity of its excellent academics.

Dynamic academic endeavors towards building of a thriving socialist country by the latest scientific achievements as required by the new era have enabled the university to successfully carry out the research projects that are of domestic and global significance.

The teachers and researchers of Kim Il Sung University are now achieving the latest scientific research successes which are of great significance in building socialism in the motherland and in the development of science of the world.

In recent years many teachers and researchers of Kim Il Sung University have published excellent academic papers about their research results in SCI-rated scientific journals such as Nature, Science, or Physical Review.

International academic exchanges are in full swing. Every year Kim Il Sung University is hosting international academic symposiums by disciplines or of a comprehensive nature; its scholars are attending academic symposiums of a wide range of topics in different countries. Agreements has been concluded the on international scholarly and academic exchanges with over 200 universities and research institutions in over 10 countries, and guest professors, researchers and students come from and go to those universities and institutions; joint or cooperative research projects with foreign counterparts are being conducted on a wide scale.

Based on the successes it has achieved so far, Kim Il Sung University is making vigorous efforts to accomplish its mission as the university of the Party and the leader, central base and parental university of the country in the training of national cadres and talented personnel and to gain the position in the front rank of world leading universities.