Indiana University has received a grant totaling $1.5 million from the Korea Foundation and three Korean IU alumni to establish the university’s first endowed chair in Korean studies.
The chair will be based in the new School of Global and International Studies on IU’s Bloomington campus and will be the first endowed chair to be established in the school since its recent approval.
The Korea Foundation Chair in Korean Studies has been made possible through the generosity of the Korea Foundation, the key institution for Korea’s public diplomacy launched in 1991 to broaden understanding of Korea in the global community, as well as donations from alumni Young-Jin Kim and William (Won Suk) Joo, and a third anonymous Korean alumnus.
University officials celebrated the grant at a special gathering of Korean IU alumni in Seoul on Dec. 1.
Young-Jin Kim received an MBA from IU’s Kelley School of Business in 1984. He is chairman and CEO of Handok Pharmaceuticals Co., which develops and provides prescription and over-the-counter medication. William (Won Suk) Joo received an MBA from the Kelley School of Business in 1987 and is chairman of MediaWill Co., which produces specialty magazines and their companion websites.
“This wonderful grant will enable us to expand and enhance our academic programs in Korean studies focused on one of the most dynamic and increasingly influential countries in the world and one with a rich and eventful history,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. “We are very grateful to the Korea Foundation and to these three alumni donors for their exceptional generosity.
“This also represents a watershed moment in IU’s history of international engagement, as we believe it is the first time that international alumni, in combination with a government organization, have contributed in a major way to supporting academic programs at IU through the funding of a chair focused on their home country. We hope we will see more of our international alumni in other countries become involved in supporting IU’s academic programs in this way.”
“Indiana University’s many successful and influential graduates in Korea are among our most loyal and supportive in the world,” said Lauren Robel, IU executive vice president and IU Bloomington provost. “The devotion of our Korean alumni to the success and excellence of their alma mater is palpable whenever I or any of our faculty visit. This chair is a visible and heartfelt expression of our mutual commitment to a longstanding and deep intellectual and human relationship with Korea. All of our faculty are extremely grateful.”
“The Republic of Korea is a pivotal middle power in the international community and aspires to bear the concomitant responsibilities in global affairs which our status entails,” Korea Foundation President Woosang Kim said. “It follows from this duty that we are establishing the Korea Foundation Chair in Korean Studies at Indiana University, a leading international research university. I believe that this chair will lead to a greater understanding of Korea and enhance Indiana University.
“Thus the Korea Foundation is gratified to establish the Korea Foundation Chair in Korean Studies. On behalf of the Korea Foundation, and as a scholar in the field of international relations, I extend my gratitude to IU for its commitment to the advancement of Korean studies. In the last few years, the foundation has emphasized the importance of the social sciences, as applied to modern Korea. This approach meshes well with the multidisciplinary approach at Indiana University. Thank you for your help in bringing this important endeavor to fruition.”
The endowed chair will be housed in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures in the School of Global and International Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington. The professor who holds this chair will also join the more than 350 faculty members from across the university who are with the new school.
The school, approved this summer, brings together IU’s linguistic, cultural, area studies and professional expertise, including its more than 70 foreign language programs, 11 federally funded Title VI area studies centers — the most of any U.S. university — three language flagship programs and two National Language Research Centers.
“This generous grant has arrived at a historic moment in the life of the College: the launch of the new School of Global and International Studies,” said Larry Singell, dean of the IU College of Arts and Sciences. “The Korea Foundation chair will enable us to build the intellectual breadth and expertise critically needed to advance learning and research in Korean studies, but also to better explore complex connections in a globalized world. We are deeply grateful to our Korean alumni and the Korea Foundation for this remarkable opportunity.”
A search committee, led by professor of East Asian languages and cultures Mike Robinson, will begin identifying candidates for the new chair position. Robinson is a member of IU Bloomington’s acclaimed Korean studies program, which offers all four levels of Korean language instruction, from elementary to advanced level, as well as courses on Korean culture, history and society.
IU has more than 6,600 Korean alumni, including over 1,000 who live in Seoul, and the Korea Chapter of the IU Alumni Association is one of the largest IU alumni groups in the world. Additionally, more than 1,000 of IU Bloomington’s international students come from Korea each year, making the country the second largest source of international students at IU behind China.
In recent years, President McRobbie has led IU delegations to Korea, where discussions about establishing this chair began. On these visits, he also signed partnership agreements with several of Korea’s leading research universities, including Seoul National University; Sungkyunkwan University, or SKKU; and Yonsei University. In 2009, McRobbie attended the first IU international alumni reunion in Asia since 1999.
IU has a particularly strong relationship with SKKU, which was founded more than 600 years ago, in 1398, to promote scholarship in Confucianism.
The College of Arts and Sciences offers a dual undergraduate degree in economics with SKKU, and a recent letter of agreement enables faculty exchanges between the East Asian Studies Center and the SKKU
Academy of East Asian Studies.
IU’s Kelley School of Business has partnered with SKKU’s business school on undergraduate and MBA dual degrees and on a dual Global Executive MBA Program, established in 2009 and co-taught by Kelley and SKKU faculty.
In 2009, the IU Maurer School of Law and SKKU launched a joint J.D./MBA program, believed to be the first of its kind between an American law school and an international MBA program.