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Long Island University and Korea: Historical Reminiscences by President Gordon Hoxie


(Edited from a tape recording, 1995)


The relationship [between Long Island University and Korea] goes back to right after the end of the Korean War. C.W. Post College was founded almost immediately following the end of the war, and we did have, from the very beginning, veterans of that war who were much interested in establishing this relationship. This group also included some early Koreans who came to the College in its first years. One of these is Hong Yuk Lee, who had American sponsors. He was one of the early graduates of C.W. Post College. Much of the early interest also came through the Board of Trustees of the University in the person of General James Van Fleet, who was one of the American senior generals in the Korean War.

The initiatives from Korea, looking toward a formal relationship, came through the very

remarkable founder/president of Chung Ang University, Dr. Louise Yin, who was the author of a remarkable book on her 40-year fight for freedom. She became the first minister of commerce of the Republic of Korea, which goes back to 1945-46. She was a friend of Mrs. Anna Shinald, the widow of the American general Claire Shinald, who encouraged Louise Yin to come and visit the new C.W. Post Campus. Anna Shinald was and still is a good friend of mine. We did have then, at the begining--as early as 1962--a relationship with Chung Ang University, one of the largest privately-supported universities in Seoul. My own first visit there was, as I recall, in 1964, when I received an honorary degree at Chung Ang University. By that time, we had formalized arrangements for bringing faculty and students to C.W. Post and having faculty and students from C.W. Post go to Korea. The visitors that came were, in some instances, members of the families of some of the highest ranking leaders in Korea, many of whom served as foreign ministers or as Ambassador to Washington. I became a good friend of many of these people, including Yung Shik Kim, who was a foreign minister and then became Ambassador in Washington and subsequently in London, and whose two sons came here.

As this relationship flourished, there were steps made following Louise Yin's visit in 1965 to form an organization called the American Friends of Chung Ang University. The early officers of the American Friends were Dr. John A. Sheepel, who served as the chancellor of LIU following the death of Admiral Conolly, and who became the first chairman of the American Friends. Other officers included Dr. Joseph L. Lindeman, who was vice president, Dr. Elmer Holmes Bobst, for whom the library at New York University was named, and Max Delson, who was the secretary of this group. The trustees included Max Delson, myself, John Pell, Milton C. Rose, General James Van Fleet, John McGrath (who subsequently became the Chairman of the Board of LIU), Anna Shinald, David M. Cochran, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger (president of The New York Times Company), and William Casey. We also had an advisory council made up of all close friends of Dr. Louise Yin and supporters of Chung Ang University. They included Emilio Collado from LIU's Board [of Trustees] and a number of other distinguished members, including Elaine Laney, Naomi Lowenson, members of the Pfeiffer family who had been instrumental in the development of Chung Ang University, and Robert Wagner, the Mayor of the City of New York. The American Friends was formally organized as a non-profit in January, 1967. My wife, Louise, was very active in these early relationships and she, like myself, was awarded an honorary degree at Chung Ang University. (Mine was awarded in 1964 and hers in 1968.)

It was at the end of 1968 that I stepped down as Chancellor of the University and founded the Center for the Study of the Presidency. The activity of the American Friends and the exchange of relationships which we had established did diminish after that time. However, there are those who had participated in those relationships with whom I continue to relate, and I am pleased that theserelationships with Korea and with the Korean universities continue and are, indeed, moving forward. I would welcome the opportunity to continue to participate in them. I am particularly pleased that Dean Walter Mathews is taking the lead in these efforts, and I continue to modestly relate to the American Friends of Chung Ang University, still serving as the president of that organization.

During my tenure at LIU, a number of the highest ranking Koreans, several who had served as Prime Minister, visited the University. These distinguished guests included J.P. Kim, who is still active politically in Korea, and Il Fong Chung, one of the heroes of the Korean War who later became Prime Mnister. As I recall, it was about 1967 that Chung, as Prime Mnister, visited the C.W. Post Campus. Indeed, he came via helicopter from the top of what was then the Pan Am Building. When I expressed concern as to whether the pilot of the helicopter knew the directions to the campus and made an inquiry of the pilot (sticking my head in the cockpit), he uttered, "Dr. Hoxie, you may not recognize me, but I am a student at C.W. Post College." He was making his way through college as a helicopter pilot!

[I might just add that one of the honorary alumni of LIU, C.R. Smith, who was the architect and principal builder of American Airlines (and upon whom I conferred an honorary degree at the C.W. Post Campus), became a leader in helping the Koreans economically. At my suggestion, he built the first moderm hotel in Seoul, the Jolson Hotel. I came back to visit in 1964 and told him of the need, and I also asked him to take on the little Korean airline in terms of putting their pilots, crews, and maintenance people all through the American Airlines schools, which he did. And, indeed, they even divided space adjacent to American Airlines for servicing passengers at JFK and other major airports. So, much of the early development of the economy in Korea is related to these efforts. Incidentally, I do have the inscription from Chung Ang University of my own honorary degree and that of the citation of my late wife, Louise, and a number of other mementos. I was made an early honorary member of the Republic of Korea Marine Corps, and they had a review in my honor. There are many happy memories of those early visits and friendships, which I have continued, including a friendship with the present Korean Ambassador in the United States, who was a junior officer in the Korean Foreign Service during these early years. The Ambassador to whom I am referring--that is, the Korean Ambassador in Washington-- is Kun-Woo Park.