NCKU sought to set up a medical School and a hospital as a part of the Fourteen Major Construction Projects in southern Taiwan
In the 1970s, one of the key government policies was to fill the healthcare gap between northern and southern Taiwan. It was also a fervent wish for all at NCKU and inhabitants of southern Taiwan to establish a medical school and a teaching hospital. Upon his inauguration, President Han-Min Xia consulted experts and presented a well-thought-out plan to set up a medical college. In 1981, NCKU College of Medicine and an affiliated teaching hospital were established on approval of the Executive Yuan. This was among the Fourteen Major Construction Projects at that time.
In response to President Xia’s earnest request, Prof. Kun-Yen Huang returned to Taiwan to help arrange affairs relating to setting up NCKU College of Medicine in 1982. Everything from the construction of medical buildings to the recruitment of top talent was taken in charge by Prof. Huang, who had successfully convinced many respected professors at medical schools in northern Taiwan to serve at NCKU College of Medicine. In 1983, the medical school recruited its first batch of students for the post baccalaureate medicine degree. The incumbent Vice President of Taiwan, Lai Ching-Te, was enrolled in the post-baccalaureate medicine program after it was started three years ago. In the spring of 1984, the first batch of freshmen was admitted to the Dept. of Medicine. In 1988, the teaching hospital started to operate. NCKU College of Medicine is the first ever medical school that shares the same campus with other departments of a comprehensive university. An overarching curriculum and faculty diversity help to instill holistic understanding and compassion in students at NCKU College of Medicine. It has been our mission to develop highly competent and compassionate doctors for the people of southern Taiwan.
A motto by the founding director Kun-Yen Huang was “Go all the way, or don’t go at all.” Dr. Huang had overcome many obstacles in the years as he spared no efforts to build a medical center in southern Taiwan. His goals and persistence have yielded notable results in clinical medicine, prospective study, and talent cultivation, in addition to seeking progress and excellence, fulfilling a college’s social responsibility, and seeking the common good in society. The hospital has adhered to the principles: “life, love, excellence, creativity,” recruiting a group of health professionals in clinical medicine, public health, and cross-technologies and taking every measure to fulfil its social responsibility of helping patients with acute conditions or with serious or complicated illnesses, or rare diseases. Faced with numerous medical challenges over recent decades, including an Enterovirus outbreak in 1998, SARS in 2003, an outbreak of dengue fever in 2015, the 2016 earthquake and the current coronavirus outbreak, NCKU Hospital has always been in the front line, ensuring the public’s health and safety and showing the spirit of the “Tree of Life” to society as a whole.
A 1981 photo of a model of the College of Medicine (front) and President Han-Min Xia (first from right) in a reception party after the groundbreaking ceremony. (Courtesy of NCKU College of Medicine)
In 1987, the then premier Kuo-Huan Yu arrived in the construction site of the medical center for an inspection. (Courtesy of NCKU College of Medicine)
The construction of National Cheng Kung University Hospital was completed in 1988. (Courtesy of NCKU College of Medicine)