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Colloquium to honor retired professor (Released: 2/27/97)

by Luis Mocete, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- Ilpyong Kim, professor emeritus of political science, will be honored at a colloquium at the University of Connecticut about the Korean War.

The seminar is scheduled for 4 p.m. March 6 in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. A reception will follow.

Kim, who retired in January after 26 years at UConn, brought a special breadth of experience to the University, said George Cole, chair of the political science department. "Kim was able to teach a range of graduate and undergraduate courses dealing with East Asia, because he was a specialist not only in Korean politics, but Chinese and Japanese politics as well. There are not too many people who have the ability to teach about the politics of those three countries."

Kim, who joined UConn in 1970, won a Bronze Star as a commissioned officer in the U.N. Forces during the Korean War. In November 1951, Kim had a close call with death, as he and two American captains were bombarded in their foxhole with artillery shells.

"One of the captains was wounded, and I had to drag him out with the other captain to a nearby dispensary and put him in a Jeep, so we could get him to an operating table," Kim said.

After the Korean War, Kim became a U.S. citizen and entered the United States in pursuit of an education. He earned his master's degree and doctorate from Columbia University.

In 1965, Kim got his first teaching position as a lecturer in government at Indiana University. He developed a strong relationship with one of his doctoral students, Bruce Cumings, director of the Center for International and Comparative Studies at Northwestern University. Cumings, who is the guest speaker at Kim's colloquium, will discuss the responsibility for starting the Korean War. A fellowship for $25,000 will be announced in the name of Kim. It will be matched by the state under UConn 2000, for a total of $50,000. Cole said the fellowship will provide support for doctoral students who are studying East Asian politics.

"I am greatly honored that my family, friends and colleagues have gone out and raised money to establish a fellowship in memory of me," Kim said.