In May 1946, Konkuk University was established as Chosen School of Politics (조선정치학관), a junior college for future political leaders, by Dr. Yoo Seok-chang.
Thirteen years later, the school became a “comprehensive university” and changed its name to Konkuk (建國), which means “founding a nation” in Hanja (Chinese characters). As strong believers in the role of higher education in maintaining Korea’s sovereignty, the founder and his supporters chose the name in the hopes that Konkuk graduates would build and serve the nation.
Dr. Yoo, whose pen name was Sanghuh, was raised by a father who moved to Manchuria to join the Korean Independence Movement. Trained as a medical doctor during the Japanese occupation, Dr. Yoo initially had opened the People’s Hospital in 1931 to provide medical care to less fortunate Koreans. Before long, he turned his attention to young leaders in rural areas since agriculture was the main pillar of the economy. Dr. Yoo and his supporters, who would later become benefactors of Konkuk University, aimed to open a higher education institution for leaders who would enlighten the rural population.