Grad Donates $500K

Korea Institute Receives Gift for Endowment

Korean businessperson Sun-shik Min donated $500,000 to the endowment of the Harvard University Korea Institute, the University announced on March 20.

Min, who received his Ph.D. from Harvard Business School in 1989, lauded Harvard's Korea program.

"Korea is one of the top ten trading partners with the U.S., but Korean studies is still in an infant stage," Min said in a press release. "Harvard is the leader of Korean studies in the U.S., and we want to support this work."

Vincent S.R. Brandt, acting director of the Korea Institute, said the Institute is attempting to increase its endowment to maintain the quality of its programs. The Institute currently offers a wide range of seminars, fellowships, travel grants and public cultural events.

"[The Institute] has more professors offering more courses," Brandt said. "There is a lot going on. We have the money to promote colloquia and cultural programs. Also, we have an excellent library."


Min made the donation in the name of his uncle, Min Young-Chul, who disappeared during the Korean War.

Min's donation is the first large gift to go toward matching a $3.5 million challenge grant from the Korea Foundation, an institution in South Korea dedicated to promoting Korean Studies programs all over the world.

"They gave us money--a lot of money--several years ago," Brandt said. "We promised to do our best to match their gift."

The Korea Institute was established in 1975 at the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research. As Korea grew as an economic power, so did interest in Korean studies and the Institute left the Fairbank Center to become autonomous in 1993, according to the press release.

"The gift helps us maintain the high quality of Korean studies at Harvard," said Brandt in the press release. "Many American business people view Korea as a vital hub of economic activity in the Pacific rim."

Min's company, Si-sa-yong-o-sa, Inc., based in Seoul, Korea, produces print, audio and video products and publishes two magazines. The company also imports English language textbooks and teaching materials and operates five English language teaching facilities in Seoul, Pusan, and Taegu, Korea