Students and faculty members take their first step for their new education hub in Sinchon which was about two miles away. Students wearing hanbok, Korean traditional clothes, hold doorplates of Ewha College and Ewha Kindergarten Training School which represents long history of Ewha. President Appenzeller with the picture of Scranton and professor Helen Kim with the picture of Frey, the fourth president of Ewha, followed the lead.
This year marks the only 80th anniversary of Ewha’s campus relocation to Sinchon. On March 9, 1935, the school moved its campus from Jeongdong to Sinchon where today’s Ewha Womans University is located.
Having started with one student on May 31, 1886, Ewha opened its doors as the first learning institute for women in Korea under the name “Ewha Haktang.” However, as the school grew, it was impossible to accommodate all of the students in the original campus in Jeongdong. The campus size was not only enlarged, but new environments also paved the way for the school to become a university.
“By securing an independent space, the relocation of the campus laid the first cornerstone as a higher educational institution for women,” said a researcher of the Ewha Archives.
“Ewha is the result of numerous people’s prayers and love. Ewha was not built by a single person; Ewha was born from the love of many throughout the world. The new Ewha is not just a school but a place for every single woman in Korea.”
The date for relocation was arranged on the same date as the fourth principal of Ewha Haktang, Lulu E. Frey’s birthday. Such arrangement was made in order to honor her devotion as a pioneer in providing new opportunities for women’s education in Korea. Frey founded the college courses in 1910 which became the root of today’s college education system.
“During the tumultuous period of change and modernization in Ewha's history, Professor Frey insisted that education was the best solution for women in Korea,” said pastor Reverend Morris at the cornerstone ceremony in the Frey Hall in 1923. “She conceived the idea for the college, and today we are merely standing on what she has achieved.”
The construction of the new campus was possible with the endeavors of missionaries who served as teachers and donators. The missionaries sent a myriad of letters asking for donation, both domestically and internationally. Acknowledging the importance of education for women, many people made donations. In fact, the first building established on the new Sinchon campus, Pfeiffer Hall, was named after Pfeiffer who donated funds for half of the construction cost.
“There were not many buildings or academic departments when I was a student,” said Cho Sung-hwan who graduated Ewha Womans University in 1949. She was one of the first graduates of the department of Exercise and Sport Science. “Also, since there was no Welch-Ryang Auditorium, the Emerson Chapel was our main auditorium.”
When she was living at Jinsunmi-gwan which was the dormitory, Kim Ok-gil, the eighth president was her superintendent. According to Cho, Kim memorized names and room numbers of every single student.
“One day, I went to see the beautiful cherry blossoms with my friend,” Cho said “At that time, 7 p.m. was our curfew but we arrived at the dormitory a little late. President Kim scolded us and told us that we needed to pack our belongings and return home.”
According to her, there were not many students and faculty members during the Japanese colonial period. Since there was a small number of students, it was possible to know each other more intimately and share different perspectives regarding academic fields.
Nowadays, Ewha is one of the most prestigious universities in Korea with about 20,000 students. Following this pioneering spirit, Ewha will undoubtedly continue its mission to provide quality education for women in Korea and the world.