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
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!"
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.
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
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
Dennis Assanis to greet
the over 100 potential students who came to the first recruiting
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
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
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/