Print This Issue

$7.5 Million Gift for Korean Studies Program

July 12, 2011, Volume 58, No. 01


The University of Pennsylvania announced two gifts totaling $7.5 million that will greatly enhance its Korean Studies Program, one of the oldest of its kind in North America.

Alumnus James Joo-Jin Kim (W’59, G’61, GR’63) has given $6 million to strengthen the Korean Studies Program, to be renamed the James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies.

The University also announced an additional, anonymous $1.5 million gift from the family of another Penn alumnus to establish the Moon Family Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Korean Studies.

President Amy Gutmann announced the gifts at a gathering of Penn alumni 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 to our many alumni,” said Dr. Gutmann. “Joo-Jin Kim’s generosity allows us to significantly expand our Korean Studies Program, building on Penn’s interdisciplinary strengths and focusing on Korea within a transnational, global context.”

Korean studies programs at many American universities have traditionally been based on an “area-studies” paradigm, focused primarily on US-centered security interests. Penn’s program will diverge from that model to look at Korea in a new light, leveraging expertise from even more faculty, departments, and schools, and providing opportunities for undergraduate as well as graduate students from around the University.

“This new gift will ensure that an understanding and appreciation of Korea is woven into the fabric of Penn’s academic life and expose an increasingly wider audience of students to Korea,” said Dean Rebecca Bushnell of Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences.

The Republic of 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 during 2010-11, Penn had 543 students (graduate and undergraduate) from there.

Penn’s current program in Korean Studies has strong support from the Korea Foundation. The Program offers a minor for undergraduate students, includes two endowed Korea Foundation Professorships in Korean Studies and other affiliated faculty in its courses, supports student exchanges with Seoul National University, and provides Korean language courses as well as programmatic support such as lecture series and colloquia. The gift will allow the program to expand to include visiting professors from multiple disciplines, graduate fellowships, and post-doctoral fellowships.

“I am pleased to strengthen this important program at Penn,” said Dr. Kim. “Now is the ideal time for Penn to expand its eminent Korean Studies Program in a unique, dynamic, and even more competitive direction.”
Dr. Kim has been an advocate and supporter of Korean Studies at Penn for a quarter of a century, as well as an active philanthropist in Korea and the United States. He is the executive chairman of Amkor Technology, Inc., one of the world’s largest providers of semiconductor assembly and test services, and in the 1990s he was chairman of the Anam Group, one of Korea’s largest companies and Amkor’s sibling company. Dr. Kim founded Amkor in 1968, incorporating in 1970. Before founding Amkor, he taught at Villanova University, where he also received an honorary degree. He and his wife founded Electronics Boutique in 1977 and took the company public in 1998. In 2005 Electronics Boutique merged with GameStop in which he served as a director for two years.  

In 1990, Dr. Kim was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Commercial Science by Villanova University. He also received an honorary PhD in economics from Chunnam National University, Kwang Ju, Korea, in 1996. Additionally, he received the Korean Presidential Commendation for his contributions to advancing the nation’s electronics industries in 1979. Most recently, he received the Semiconductor Industry Award as a Pioneer in the Merchant Packaging Industry in 1998.

Dr. Kim is a former member of the SAS Board of Overseers and Wharton’s Executive Board for Asia, and a former member of the Penn Alumni Council and Penn Alumni Board of Directors. He is a former Penn Trustee and he currently serves as a Trustee Emeritus. He endowed the James Joo-Jin Kim Professorship at the Wharton School, and he is a significant contributor to Jon M. Huntsman Hall. Dr. Kim established the James J. Kim Trustee Scholarship and the James Joo-Jin Kim Professorship in Economics in SAS.

Almanac - July 12, 2011, Volume 58, No. 01