A $200,000 GIFT to help expand Korean language and culture programs at the university has been donated to the university by LG Electronics, formerly Lucky Goldstar Co., one of Korea's leading technology companies. The gift was sent to UB President William R. Greiner by John Koo, president of LG Electronics, a technology giant that manufactures multimedia consumer products and is a world leader in the field of semiconductors and liquid-crystal displays.
Sek-Yen Cho, who has taught UB's Korean language and culture courses for the past 14 years, and her husband, Kah-Kyung Cho, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Philosophy, were instrumental in drawing the attention of the top management of LG Electronics to the need to enhance UB's Korean Studies Program. Sek-Yen Cho is an adjunct associate professor and director of the Korean Studies Program in UB's World Languages Institute, part of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.
It was Hun-Jo Lee, chairman and chief executive officer of LG Electronics-whose success in making the company a major global player was profiled last fall in Business Week-who made the decision to support an overseas Korean program for the first time in the com-pany's history. Lee studied philosophy at Seoul National University, where Kah-Kyung Cho taught for 13 years before joining the UB faculty in 1970. A cordial collegial spirit and mutual respect developed between the two men.
Cho noted that LG Industries has donated $5 million to the United Nations in honor of the organization's 50th anniversary, and in support of its humanitarian efforts worldwide.
"We are very pleased with the interest of Mr. Koo and Mr. Lee in helping fund Korean studies abroad," added Cho. "The University at Buffalo is the first overseas institution to benefit from their generosity, and we are truly grateful to the management of LG Electronics."
The gift from LG Electronics is the largest received to date in support of expanding UB's Korean Studies Program as part of a drive launched last October by a committee of friends and alumni volunteers known as the Society in Support of Korean Studies. The group is headed by Suk-Ki Hong, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the UB Department of Physiology.
To date, $340,000 in gifts and pledges has been raised from the Korean-American community and from donors in Korea to support expansion of UB's Korean Studies Program. The program will include courses focusing on Korean literature, art, history, economics, business, politics and education. The group also will seek resources to fund a full-time teaching position and provide instructional materials.
UB currently enrolls more than 500 Korean-American students, hosts 200 international students and scholars from Korea and enjoys widespread support from the large Korean community in Western New York.