Under the leading direction of one of Turkey's leading family run foundations, the Sabancı Foundation, 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 Search Conference of August 1995. This conference was followed by design committees, which worked under the guidance of a "Student Tendency Suvey" 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.