Under the direction of one of Turkey's leading family-run foundations, the Hacı Ömer Foundation (VAKSA), the Sabancı Group established Sabancı University in July 1994. More than fifty academicians from 22 different countries, students, and individuals from the private sector participated in the conference in August 1995. At the end of the conference, based on the knowledge and experience of the participants, the key philosophy of a "world university" emerged: "creating and developing together." This conference was followed by design committees which worked under the guidance of a "Student Tendency Survey" and other academic program design activities. The groundbreaking ceremony for the Sabancı University campus took place on July 31, 1997. The University began its first academic year on October 20, 1999.