A $2 million gift honoring Professor William J. Perry, from telecommunications entrepreneur Jeong H. Kim, will create a new professorship on contemporary Korea to be established jointly by the Stanford Institute for International Studies (SIIS) and the School of Humanities and Sciences.
Perry, the 19th secretary of defense of the United States, currently holds the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professorship and is a senior fellow at SIIS. Upon Perry's retirement from Stanford the new Korea chair will be named the William J. Perry Professorship.
"Bill Perry's dedicated work on Korean issues over the last decade and the significant contributions he has made to this very crucial dialogue are unparalleled," said Kim, a member of the SIIS Board of Visitors. "I can think of no one more appropriate than Bill for this chair to be named after."
Kim's interest in the political and cultural life of his native Korea has been sustained over the years in part by following the work of his mentor and friend, Bill Perry, who has played a significant role in encouraging Kim's entrepreneurship.
Learning of Kim's gift, Perry said, "I am pleased that so many students will benefit from this generous gift. I am quite humbled that Jeong and Cindy Kim have chosen to honor me in this way, as Jeong's own accomplishments deserve to be acknowledged and, indeed, emulated."
As Perry related, "Jeong Kim's story is as impressive as it is inspiring. He left Korea at the age of 14 and made his way to America with no money and little English. He worked his way through high school and college, and became a nuclear engineering officer in the U.S. Navy. After leaving the navy, he returned to school, earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, and started an innovative new company in the highly competitive telecom business. Within five years he took his very successful company public and sold it to Lucent Technologies for $1 billion. He went on to manage a major division for Lucent, until offered a professorship 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. And all before he turned 45."
"I understand that the university is at a critical juncture in the development of Korean Studies at Stanford," said Kim. "I am delighted to be able to do something meaningful to encourage its growth."
The establishment of an incremental endowed faculty position to be held jointly by both SIIS and the School of Humanities and Sciences is unique and innovative for Stanford University and is a likely precursor to further joint appointments that may characterize the university's upcoming multidisciplinary initiatives.
"Jeong Kim's gift is a momentous tribute to Bill Perry. 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 Professor Gi-Wook Shin," said SIIS Director Coit D. Blacker.
H&S Dean Sharon Long concurred, "I am so pleased that Dr. Kim has extended such a generous recognition of one of the university's most valued faculty members. This gift will contribute to the growth of our understanding of Korea, a subject of deep concern to our donor and to our faculty and students."
William J. Perry has worked inside and outside of government over the last decade toward a resolution of what he has often called the "dangerous armed truce" on the Korean peninsula. Having served as secretary of defense during the 1994 crisis on the Korean peninsula, he has often said that the United States was closer to war there during that period than at any other time during his tenure.
During the second term of the Clinton administration, Perry served as special advisor to the president and the secretary of state for the review of the United States policy toward North Korea. He continues his efforts for peace on the Korean Peninsula at SIIS and as co-director of the Preventive Defense Project, a research collaboration between Stanford and Harvard.