The University Record, August 14, 1995

$1.5 million gift funds chair for Korean studies

By Jared Blank

The University has received a $1.5 million gift from the Korea Foundation to endow a professorship for the new Korean Studies Program. The Distinguished Korean Foundation Professorship will be filled by a senior scholar who will teach one course in Korean music, one in Asian languages and cultures and one in Korean civilization. This professor also will serve as director of the Korean Studies Program. The program will be housed within the International Institute.

The University in return will raise an additional $1 million and create three new profesorships for Korean Studies faculty--a tenure-track position in Korean language, an appointment combining business and the social sciences for a junior faculty member, and a visiting professorship. The Foundation also will make available $500,000 in discretionary funds for program support, including library acquisitions, community outreach and student support.

The Korea Foundation's president, Chang-Yoon Choi, believes that with the help of this gift, the University will become a national leader in Korean studies.

"We have worked with many universities to set up Korean studies programs. We believe the University of Michigan will grow and develop into a leading center for Korean studies in the Midwest."

The U-M is a perfect choice as a center of Korean studies, notes David W. Cohen, director of the International Institute.

"The state of Michigan is as involved in international business as any other state. Korea is important in the international auto industry, sciences, technologies and engineering. Also, we have strong support from the local Korean community and our alumni in Korea."

Choi says it will be beneficial for Americans to study Korea as the country emerges as a business leader in the Pacific Rim. "Korea's economic status in the world community has been enhanced over the past years. Yet, not many countries know about Korean culture, history and economic forces. In the post-Cold War era there is no ideological competition, but there is economic competition. There is more room for prosperity, friendship and peace between countries. I am very proud that my foundation is playing such an important role in the friendship of the two countries."

The Korea Foundation promotes the strengthening of Korean studies programs around the world. The Foundation provides financial support to 44 universities and research institutes in the United States.