Bilkent University was founded on October 20, 1984 by İhsan Doğramacı, through the joint resolution of İhsan Doğramacı Education Foundation, İhsan Doğramacı Science and Research Foundation and İhsan Doğramacı Health Foundation. The establishment of this private university was later approved by an act of Parliament. The aim was to create a center of excellence in higher education and research. The name “Bilkent”‘ exemplifies the founder’s aim, since it is an acronym of “bilim kenti” in Turkish for “city of science and knowledge.”
It had long been an objective of the founder to establish a private university distinguished by its high quality education and research. The founder, himself an academician by profession, had earlier contributed to the establishment of numerous public institutions of higher learning and served as rector of Ankara University, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Middle East Technical University and founder and first rector of Hacettepe University.