KU alumni Hui-seong Yoo made his 3rd donation to his alma mater
In hopes of cultivating the donation culture in Korea, Yoo has continued his donations based on his strong belief in that property should be shared when it still has human warmth.
▲ KU alumni Hui-seong Yoo (left) and KU President Jaeho Yeom (right) taking a commemorative photograph at a donation ceremony held in the Inchon Chamber of the KU Main Hall on Oct. 23.
On Oct. 23, KU alumni Hui-seong Yoo (Department of Business Administration, ’58), aged 79, donated an apartment valued at 2.2 billion won located in Jamwon-dong, Seocho-gu, to his alma mater. Starting with 1 billion won in 2011, his donations continued in 2015 with another 1 billion won, and this year with the donation of the apartment.
The apartment, where Yoo actually raised his children until recently, reminded him of a great deal of precious memories. Although it had such a special meaning to him, Yoo did not hesitate to donate the apartment to his alma mater. He firmly believed that property should be donated while it still has the warmth of its residents.
Yoo said at the donation ceremony, “My donations are not for leaving my name behind. I hope for them to be used to help KU students become the talented and valuable people needed in our society.” The apartment will be used as a fund for basic science research after liquidation.
KU President Yeom said in response to the donor’s remarks, “Universities should put more efforts than other organizations into shaping the future. We assure you that we are determined to give a good care to our students who will be taking important roles in our society in the next 20 and 30 years. We will not become complacent about what we have right now. As a university built on the nation’s call, Korea University will do its best to nurture future intellectuals.”
At the age of thirteen, Yoo lost his father during the Korean War and had a tough childhood in his hometown, Jincheon, in Chungcheongbuk province. Despite the harsh environment, he did not give up learning and devoted himself to his studies, which allowed him to enter the Department of Commercial Science at College of Commerce, Korea University (currently, Department of Business Administration in the KU Business School) in 1958. After graduation, he founded his own construction company, Joheung Construction, in the 1970s and started to undertake construction projects and produce civil engineering materials. Thanks to his tenacity and passion, he overcame hardships and succeeded on his own as a leading businessman. In the evening of his life, he decided to put what he had in his mind into practice – making a donation to his alma mater.
“I founded my company in the 1970s and tried hard to grow the business. I already had in my mind that one day I would donate to my alma mater. It is like crows, which are known to visit their ageing parents many years after they have left their nest. Korea University had raised me and helped me to settle in the society based on my competence and confidence as a KU graduate. I owe a lot to the university, and the campus is the hometown of my heart,” said Yoo.
Yoo made his first donation in 2011 when he generously contributed 1 billion won for the construction of a new business hall at the university. In 2015, he donated another 1 billion won, reaffirming his special interest in the university. The 1 billion won donation he made in 2015 was named as the “Inseong Scholarship Fund,” taking one letter from his mother’s name and one from his own. In the second half of 2016, a total of 12 in-need students were selected as the first awardees of the scholarship. Since then, the university has helped 28 students each year with the fund.
At “The 1st Inseong Scholarship Certificate Presentation Ceremony” held on Oct. 28 last year, Yoo encouraged the scholarship students by saying that, “The darker the night, the brighter the stars. Although you are suffering from hardships in the present, they will train you hard. In the course of weathering those difficulties, you will earn wisdom that others do not have a chance to learn.”
In response to his remarks, Eul Noh (Department of Business Administration, ’13) said, “Through my whole college life until today, I had to juggle between study and part-time jobs. Thanks to the scholarship, now I have time and peace of mind to look back on my past and plan my future so that I can contribute to the society one day.”
Da-bin Lee (College of Medicine, ’14) referenced Isaac Newton, who once talked about standing on the shoulders of giants. “I should confess that it was not easy for me to keep studying in such a harsh condition. The shoulders Mr. Yoo lent to me are a huge relief and support. I promise that one day I will lend my shoulders to others so that they can pursue their dreams,” said the scholarship awardee.
Believing the power of donation brings a bigger joy to the donor, Yoo put an emphasis on the nobility of donation by citing an example of the Choi family of Gyeongju. The family is known for putting the ideals of noblesse oblige into practice in the 17th century.
“The Choi family of Gyeongju was able to maintain their wealth for 300 years through acts of donation. The family did not suffer misfortune thanks to their accumulated virtue,” said Yoo. To better explain the cause of his donations, he also quoted a passage from I Ching: “Families who perform good deeds will accumulate prosperity that can outlast many generations.”
“Drinking up all the seawater will not quench your thirst. The same principle applies to money. People are insatiable when it comes to money. The more money you possess, the greedier you become. I know there are people who sacrifice themselves and even risk their lives for their country. I give monetary donations to society, instead,” Yoo continued.
He expressed his hope that more people would participate in creating the donation culture in Korea. “If I take the United States as an example, there are not many people who leave their property to their offspring. We should emulate those big givers such as Bill Gates and Andrew Carnegie. In my opinion, the donation culture has not been properly set in Korea. With the participation of many donors, I hope we will have a sound donation culture in our country soon.” This also explained how he decided to donate in such a generous way.