New chair supporting Korean studies established

Jeong H. Kim, a telecommunications entrepreneur, has donated $2 million to Stanford to establish a new professorship on contemporary Korea honoring Professor William Perry. The position is matched by funds from the School of Humanities and Sciences (H&S).

The new Korea chair will be named the William J. Perry Professorship upon Perry's retirement at an undetermined future date, said Coit D. Blacker, director of the Stanford Institute for International Studies (SIIS).

Perry, a senior fellow at SIIS, is the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professor with a joint appointment in the School of Engineering. Perry, a longtime friend and mentor to Kim, was the 19th U.S. Secretary of Defense from 1994 to 1997.

"Jeong Kim's gift is a momentous tribute to Bill Perry," Blacker said. "It also presents a perfect opportunity for the institute and H&S to work cooperatively to further strengthen Korean studies at Stanford, which has been growing impressively under the leadership of program director Gi-Wook Shin."

The new professorship, jointly established by SIIS and H&S, is regarded as a precursor for future appointments reflecting the trend toward multidisciplinary initiatives at Stanford, Blacker said. A search for a Koreanist in the social sciences is expected to start this fall.

According to Perry, Kim left Korea when he was 14 and came to the United States with no money and little knowledge of English. He worked his way through high school, attended Johns Hopkins University and spent seven years in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear submarine officer.

Kim returned to college to earn a doctorate from the University of Maryland in 1991, and a year later founded a telecommunications company. Perry mentored Kim in establishing Yurie Systems Inc., which he took public within five years and sold to Lucent Technologies in 1998 for $1 billion. Kim went on to manage a major division for Lucent until he was offered a faculty position in 2002 at the University of Maryland.

"His dedication to education is clearly evident, not only by his decision to teach future leaders, but through his endowments of a new engineering building at the University of Maryland and now this chair in Korean studies at Stanford," Perry said. "I am pleased that so many students will benefit from this generous gift."

During the last decade, Perry has worked inside and outside government toward a resolution of what he calls the "dangerous armed truce" on the Korean Peninsula. During the second term of the Clinton administration, Perry served as special adviser to the president and the secretary of state for the review of U.S. policy toward North Korea. He continues his efforts to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula as co-director of the Preventive Defense Project at SIIS, a research collaboration between Stanford and Harvard.