Penn receives $7.5 million to support Korean Studies Program

Penn President Amy Gutman and SNU President Yeon Cheon-Oh

SNU President Yeon-Cheon Oh and Penn President Amy Gutmann sign a memorandum of understanding between Penn and Seoul National University.

Penn President Amy Gutmann announced a $7.5 million gift from alumni in support of Penn's Korean Studies Program, and signed a memorandum of understanding between Penn and Seoul National University, Korea's oldest national university, in Seoul on May 23.

At the signing ceremony, Gutmann and SNU President Yeon-Cheon Oh were joined by Deans Rebecca Bushnell from the School of Arts and Sciences and Denis Kinane from the School of Dental Medicine. The memorandum of understanding will facilitate further collaborative research projects and other academic activities, including a revived Penn-in-Seoul program for 20 Penn students beginning this July. Students will take classes at SNU and participate in internships at multinational corporations and government agencies in Korea.

On Monday night, Gutmann announced two gifts to Penn’s Korean Studies Program at a gathering of more than 300 alumni in Seoul. Alumnus James Joo-Jin Kim (W'59, G'61, GR'63) gave $6 million to the Korean Studies Program, to be renamed the James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies, and an anonymous alumnus gave $1.5 million to establish a post-doctoral fellowship in Korean Studies. Kim’s wife Agnes and son John (C ’92, W’04) attended the event.

John Kim at alumni reception

John Kim C ’92, W’04, son of James Joo-Jin Kim W'59, G'61, GR'63, who gave $6 million to the Korean Studies Program, speaks at an alumni event in Seoul.

“Because the Republic of Korea is such an important global presence, I am especially pleased to be able to announce this gift in Seoul,” said Gutmann. “Joo-Jin Kim's generosity will enable us to expose an even wider community of students to Korea— by weaving an understanding and appreciation of the country into the fabric of academic life at Penn.”

Korea represents the third-largest country of origin for international students at Penn—comprising roughly 11 percent of all international students at the University. More than 1,100 alumni currently reside in Korea, and Penn had 543 graduate and undergraduate students from there in 2010-11.
Penn and SNU faculty participated in an on-campus symposium titled “Korea: From Historical and International Perspectives,” with Dean Bushnell, and Penn faculty Jacques DeLisle, Director of the Center for East Asian Studies, and Eugene Y. Park, Director of the Korean Studies Program.
On May 24, faculty from Penn’s School of Dental Medicine participated in the Penn Global Oral Health Symposium at SNU. Dean Denis Kinane and professors Syngcuk Kim, Dana Graves, Yan Yuan, and Kelly Jordan-Sciutto took part in sessions on public and oral health.

Originally published on May 24, 2011