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University of Iowa News Release


Dec. 10, 2008

PHOTOS: (top) UI President Sally Mason speaks with Ja-Kyum Koo, president of the UI Korean Alumni Association, during a recent visit to South Korea; (middle) Sungkyunkwan University's Youngkwan Lee leads UI President Sally Mason and UI College of Engineering Dean P. Barry Butler in a tour the university's Business Innovation Cener; (bottom) UI President Sally Mason signs an agreement to continue collaborative programs between UI and Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul with Jung-Don Seo, president of Sungkyunkwan University.

UI South Korean alumni donate to flood recovery during trip

The story of the University of Iowa's struggles during the summer floods has reverberated all the way to South Korea.

During a recent trip to the East Asian nation by UI President Sally Mason and several other UI officials, more than $15,000 was committed to the UI in support of flood relief efforts. The president of the UI Korean Alumni Association, Ja-Kyum Koo, personally provided a substantial portion of the UI Flood Relief Fund gift.

"Dr. Ja-Kyum Koo and others wanted to contribute to helping us rebuild the campus they call their American home as well as the home of all future UI students," Mason said.

Kwan Rim made an additional $10,000 gift to the UI College of Engineering Department of Biomedical Engineering. Rim has served on the UI engineering faculty for 35 years. He is also the chairman of the SungKyunKwan University Samsung Foundation and an executive advisor to the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology.

Mason -- as well as other UI and UI Foundation and Alumni Association administrators, faculty and staff -- strengthened a number of partnerships and linkages that the UI has with Korea during a weeklong trip Nov. 30-Dec. 6. This visit to a country that draws the third largest number of international students to the UI was Mason's first overseas trip as UI president.

The trip was intended to strengthen partnerships with several higher education institutions in Korea and connections that provide study abroad opportunities for UI students. University officials also met with some of the nearly 500 UI alumni living in South Korea.

"The University of Iowa has a long and rich history with Korea through our academic ties, collaborative research and the UI's Center for Asian and Pacific Studies and the Korea Foundation," Mason said. "This trip provided a wonderful opportunity to strengthen these critical relationships and to connect with our UI alumni and donors, many of whom are in leadership positions in the Korean Ministry of Education as well as in the fields of business and engineering."

Accompanying Mason were UI Foundation President Lynette Marshall; UI Tippie College of Business Dean Curt Hunter; UI College of Education Dean Sandra Damico; College of Engineering Dean P. Barry Butler; Downing Thomas, interim associate provost and dean of UI International Programs; and Ken Mason, biology lecturer.

During the trip, UI officials met with representatives from Samsung Advanced Institute of Science and Technology; Sungkyunkwan University; Kyonggi University; Sejong University; University of Seoul; the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology; Hansung University; and Korea University.

"A number of the universities we visited were keen to host UI students studying abroad, and to explore opportunities for faculty exchange and research collaboration," Thomas said. "A thread that connects Korea to Iowa is the strong value traditionally placed on education in this country, and we could see that throughout our visit. The availability of English-based instruction, together with courses on the Korean language and culture, may make Korea an attractive destination for students in a variety of disciplines."

The main alumni event on Wednesday, Dec. 3, co-sponsored by the UI Alumni Association and the UI Foundation, drew 120 people, including alumni, future students who will begin next fall, and 20 parents of current UI Korean students.

"Many University of Iowa alumni are leaders in different facets of Korean society," Sally Mason said.

The UI's international student population is 2,374 students or 7.2 percent of the overall UI student population. UI students come from 119 countries, with the third highest number of students -- 318 -- coming from Korea. Korean students are enrolled in all of the UI colleges.

Following is a break down of Korean student enrollment by college: 176 in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; 43 in the College of Engineering; 27 in the Tippie College of Business; 26 in the Graduate College; 23 in the College of Education; nine in the College of Nursing; four in the College of Public Health; four in the Carver College of Medicine; three in the College of Pharmacy; two in the College of Law; and one in the College of Dentistry. In addition, 26 students are studying in graduate interdisciplinary programs.

Since 1998, the Korean student population has grown from 194 to 318 this year.

According to the UI Office for Study Abroad, 13 UI students studied abroad in Korea in the 2006-07 academic year, the most recent year for which statistics are available, though Thomas said he hopes this number will increase in the near future.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Lynette Marshall, UI Foundation, 319-335-3305,; Steven Parrott, UI spokesperson, 319-335-0552,; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,