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Students’ Continued Gratitude Extends to Their Spouses

Writer : PR Office Date : 2018-07-13 Hit : 218 Email : kaistpr@kaist.ac.kr

Here is a story of a group of KAIST graduates who still cherish the memory of their professor who passed away in 2003. 

They are former students from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and SDV Lab and their spouses. They created a group, called ‘Chun-sa-heoi’ meaning members who love Dr. Soung-Soon Chun. They reunite every February 26, the date that Dr. Chun passed away.

Chun-sa-heoi is comprised of twelve former students who are now professors, board members of major companies, and an attorney. From his first graduate, Professor Jae Gon Kim at Hanyang University to the most recent graduate, Attorney Jaehwan Kim, Chun-sa-heoi is marking 40 years of their bond.

Dr. Chun was teaching at the University of Utah when he received a call from the Korean government asking him to join KAIST in 1972 as a visiting professor.

He first introduced and established the Department of Materials Engineering, which was considered to be an advanced field at that time. During 30 years of dedication in this field, he fostered 48 Masters and 26 PhD graduates. 

Professor Chul Soon Park from the School of Electrical Engineering is one of the former students of Dr. Chun. He explained, “Dr. Chun always cared about his students and guided them in better directions even after they graduated. My gratitude towards him still stays deep in my heart, so I keep maintaining the relationship with him.”

Mrs. Bok Yeon Choi, the spouse of KOREATECH Professor Sang-Ho Kim, first met Dr. Chun and his wife, Myung-Ja Chun in 1987 when she married her husband, who was enrolled in the graduate program at that time. “The Chuns showed affection to not only Dr. Chun’s students but also their families. They took care of us like a family,” she recalled. 

Although Dr. Chun passed away in 2003, they continue to pay visits to Mrs. Chun, and they naturally organized this group, expressing gratitude to the Chuns. And their reunions keep on going even after Mrs. Chun moved to Los Angeles where her children are residing. Whenever the former students have a business trip to the U.S, they do not forget to visit Mrs. Chun. 

But this year was somewhat more special for Mrs Chun and Chun-sa-heoi. In April, twelve spouses from Chun-sa-heoi invited Mrs. Chun to Hawaii to celebrate her 80th birthday. Mrs. Chun means a lot to the spouses because she has played the role of supporter to them. When they needed advice, she always answered sincerely and encouraged them. 

There are numerous relationships among students and professors over the history of KAIST; however, the story of the Chuns and Chun-sa-heoi is very special because their relationship extends to their spouses, beyond the student-professor relationship. 

Chunsaheoi and Mrs. Chun
This photo was taken in last April when Chun-sa-heoi celebrated the 80th birthday of Mrs. Chun in Hawaii. 

 ?  Who is Dr. Chun?

Dr. Soung-Soon Chun
(Dr. Soung-Soon Chun)

Dr. Chun returned to Korea from the United States in 1972 following a call from the Korean government. At that time, the government policy was to bring back prominent scientists from abroad to develop national science and technology. From the time of KAIST’s foundation, he dedicated himself as a professor. He established the Department of Materials Engineering, where he fostered students and made significant academic contributions in his field.  

While holding a position as a professor at the University of Utah, he developed a chemical vapor deposition method with tungsten and applied this method to cutting tools, making a contribution to the economic development of Korea.

When government-funded institutes, including KAIST, faced difficulties due to early retirements and tax credits being cut off, he was appointed as the vice president of KAIST and ardently proposed ways to promote the institute. During his term as vice president and president, he contributed to making KAIST a global research-centered educational institute. Before he passed away at the age of 69 in 2003, he held the position of president of the Daejeon National University of Technology and the Presidential Advisory Council on Science and Technology. 

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