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The CEAS Inaugural Hall of Fame Will Honor Dr. Oh
As Its First Inductee on April 29, 2017

 

SBU Alumnus
Dr. Myung Oh

The Man
Whose Dream
Became SUNY Korea

 

 

 


 

by Ja Young 

March 2017


In 2012, at the request of former Provost Dennis Assanis, the AA E-Zine / Asian American Journal did a multi-page spread on the new opening of SUNY Korea. Since it was geared for graduate students only at the time, most undergrads had never heard of it. He wanted that to change and it quickly did. Fast forward 5 years and this past December SUNY K had it first graduation of both undergraduate and graduate students.

On April 29th, the man whose dream was the creation of SUNY Korea, alumnus Dr. Myung Oh, is to be honored as the first inductee into the inaugural CEAS Hall of Fall at the 15th Engineering Ball at Lombardi's on the Sound in Port Jefferson. Alumni are welcome to attend!

Below is the article (with updated links) on Dr. Oh from 2012. We closed it then saying, "Thank you Dr. Oh!" We close this one saying "Thank you again Dr. Oh and congratulations!"
 

February 2012

Dr. Myung Oh, also known as the "Alchemist of the IT Industry" for his major role in the technological transformation of South Korea, is the force behind SUNY Korea.
 

A Stony Brook College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Electrical Engineering PhD graduate, Class of '72, he first broached his idea to Yacov Shamash, VP of Economic Development [then Dean of College of Engineering. Together they led it through years of approvals in the Korean Ministry of Education and the SBU and SUNY systems. Like a father watching his baby grow, Dr. Oh never gave up on the belief that someday his dream would become reality.


This coming March SUNY Korea will finally open its doors to its first class of graduate engineering students. Many of them will even have had the honor of meeting Dr. Oh beforehand. So enthused is he about SUNY Korea that he joined SBU [former Provost] Dennis Assanis to greet the over 100 potential students who came to the first recruiting session.

 

SUNY Korea's first recruitment of new students included Dr. Sooyoung Kim, Professor, POSTECH; Professor, Seoul National University; Dr. Dennis Assanis, Provost, SBU; Dr. Myung Oh; Dr. Choonho Kim, President, SUNY Korea; Dr. Wolf Schafer, Professor, SBU; Dr. Hongshik Ahn, VP, SUNY Korea; Jongtae Kim, Director, Education Affairs Team, IFEZ


But SUNY Korea is actually the 2nd step up on the ladder in this Stony Brook / Korea collaboration, and hopefully there will be more. The first step was CEWIT Korea. CEWIT, the Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology, was created by the College of Engineering at Stony Brook in 2002. Dr. Oh, when he became President of Anjou University in 2008, signed an agreement with Stony Brook to create a similar facility at Anjou, known as WIRC, the Wireless Internet Research Center. WIRC has now grown into CEWIT Korea and is based on the new SUNY Korea campus. This will enable students and faculty at SUNY Korea to have a wide assortment of additional research resources.
 

CEWIT Korea Grand Opening: L-R: Dr Satya Sharma, Director, CEWIT; Dr Brent Lindquist, Asst. Provost, SBU; Dr Yacov Shamash, VP Economic Development, Dean, College of Engineering, SBU; Dr Sam Stanley, President, SBU; Sang Soo Ahn, Mayor, Incheon; Dr Myung Oh; Pyeong Oh Kwon, Director, Ministry of Knowledge Economy; Yong man Lee, Chairman, East West Management Group and Board, CEWIT Korea; Hyun Gil Choi, Vice Commissioner, International Free Economic Zone (IFEZ).    


Dr. Oh began his connection to Stony Brook in 1966 when he arrived for graduate studies. Born March 21, 1940, he attended Kyunggi High School and in 1962 graduated from Korea Military Academy, the equivalent of America's West Point. He went on to receive his BS in Electrical Engineering in 1966 from Seoul National University, ranked as Korea's best.


After six years at Stony Brook, in 1972 Myung Oh became Dr. Oh with a PhD in Electrical Engineering. He returned to Korea to become an EE professor at Korea Military Academy, where he stayed until 1979. He then spent a year as a principal researcher at the Agency of Defense Development. 

In 1980 he was tapped by Doo-hwan Chun, Korea's military leader, to become the Presidential Secretary for Economic and Scientific Affairs. In 1981 he was appointed as the youngest ever Vice Minister of Communications and in 1987 rose to Minister of Communications. He served longer than anyone else in the history of that Ministry. Dr. Oh played a pivotal role in the explosive growth of Korea's electronics and semiconductor industries, the foundation of Korea's "economic miracle."

 

There is no question that the extraordinary development of Korea's telecommunications industries in the 1980's laid the foundation for the country to become one of the leading IT powerhouses in the world. It is widely believed that this was made possible due to Dr. Oh's leadership, where he is commonly known as "the 'godfather' of the telecommunications revolution." The advances in Korea's telecom sector were visible to all and globally recognized in the successful 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. 

In 1988 Korea elected Tae-woo Roh and Dr. Oh was again asked to be part of the government in an advisory role. In 1989 he was a member of the Presidential Council on Science and Technology and from 1989 until 1992 he was a member of the Presidential Committee on Education Policy.  

In 1989 he also became Chairman of the 1993 Taejeon International Exposition Organizing Committee, in charge of putting together Korea's first Expo. That was followed with a brief stint as the Commissioner of the Korea Baseball Organization which ended with the election of Young-sam Kim when Dr. Oh was again asked to serve his government. From 1993 to 1994 he was the Minister of Transportation and the following year the Minister of Construction and Transportation when two ministries were merged into one of the "super ministries" in the newly reorganized government.

"Dr. Oh's appointment to the cabinet in 1994 was somewhat surprising but made an emphatic statement about the broad public respect for his skills, vision and leadership capabilities. The surprise came because he was the only member of the new cabinet to have served at a high level in the prior military governments..." (Korea's Amazing Century: From Kings to Satellites)  

In 1996 Dr. Oh moved into a new chapter of his life, becoming President and later Chairman of the Dong-A Ilbo, one of Korea's most influential daily newspapers. In 2002 he was named President of Anjou University, a post he held until he was again called into public service a year later as the Minister of Science and Technology with the additional responsibility of Deputy Prime Minister from 2004 to 2006.

In 1997 Dr. Oh returned to Stony Brook to be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the main commencement ceremony. He spoke to Statesman and said he had fond memories of Stony Brook, among them marrying his wife. 

In 2006, with the election of Moo-hyun Roh, Dr. Oh returned to academia as the President of Konkuk University and then in 2008, Anjou University again. In the ensuing years he authored "Digital Development in Korea: Building an Information Society" with James Larson (2011), helped to create CEWIT Korea and is a member of its Board (2010), and now awaits the grand opening of SUNY Korea.

 

Provost Assanis took note of Dr. Oh's contributions to Stony Brook: "In the formative stage, Dr. Myung Oh was instrumental in bringing the Songdo Global University Campus initiative to the attention of Stony Brook, and in recommending to the Incheon Free Economic Zone education division that Stony Brook be considered as a potential recruit for the SGU campus. During the development stage of this initiative, he continuously provided encouragement to SBU, assisted the SBU team with contacts in Korea, and provided advice. Dr. Oh's advice and support was critical in Stony Brook's choice of our founding President of SUNY Korea. As a member of the Board of Managers of SUNY Korea, LLC, Dr. Oh represents the Korean educational perspective on the development of SUNY Korea."
 

For his efforts in public life Dr. Oh has been named (and nicknamed) The Pioneer of Korea's Telecommunications Industry, Man of the Year, Best CEO of the Year, Master Manager, Best Public Servant of Korea and the list goes on and on. 
--- He was named "one of the seven most remarkable public figures of post-war Korea" by faculty at Korea University. 

--- After conducting a comprehensive survey and collecting opinions of 185 eminent experts from various fields, Korea's leading business newspaper Mail Business chose him as one of "the top 10 public officers who have led Korea since the establishment of the Korean government in 1948."
--- In a survey of high-ranking officers conducted by the influential monthly newsmagazine Monthly Chosun, Oh was selected as one of the best ministers in Korea.
--- Korea's renowned newsmagazine Shindonga selected him as one of "The Four Most Successful Ministers" out of those ministers who had served in the governments of former presidents Rho Tae-woo and Kim Young-sam, and Kim Dae-jung.

 

And given what Dr. Oh is currently doing with his business career, let's hope his next dream is AERTC Korea. AERTC, the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center at Stony Brook, is doing research into cutting edge energy solutions. Dr. Oh is currently Chairman of Woongjin Energy Polysilicon. Formed in 2008 as part of the Woongjin Polysilicon Group, its goal is to become one of the leading solar companies in the world. Its IPO in 2010 was well received by investors and over the next few years, Polysilicon is investing $700 million USD into a second plant to increase its capacity to become one the top 10 photovoltaic cell producers in the world.  

 

Dr. Oh wrote of the value of his experiences at Stony Brook: "The single greatest asset my experience at Stony Brook University afforded me was the ability to work confidently and comfortably with people, allowing me to participate in a broad spectrum of activities. Indeed, when I served as Senior Secretary to the President for Economics and Science Policy in Korea in the early 1980s, I was able to push ahead with developing electronics, semiconductors, and telecommunications as key future industries of Korea against surging opposition from economy bureaucrats...  When I served as Minister of Communications in the 1980s, I could boldly pursue the development of ... telephone... and computer technologies, as well as the planning of the high-speed train and Incheon International Airport as Minister of Construction and Transportation in the 1990s. From my perspective, I was provided with an invaluable set of skills and strategies, which has allowed me to pursue a diverse and rewarding career at public and private levels in Korea..."

 

Speaking of Dr. Oh's role, as Provost Assanis said, without him "we would never have been able to get where we got." 

 

Thank you Dr. Oh!

by Noah Kim
AAJ Managing Editor
and Ja Young
AA E-Zine Alumni Editor

 

Special Series: SUNY Korea  www.aaezine.org/SUNYKorea/

 

 



 

   
 

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