The gift, with matching funds from the Government of B.C., totals $1 million.
Also at the cheque presentation ceremony were the Republic of Korea's new Consul-General, Wung-Sik Kang, members of the board of directors of BCSAKS, and senior UBC faculty and staff.
Funding for the UBC gift was raised in a grass roots effort involving about 160 individuals and organizations representing about 500 members in the local Korean community over a period of about five years.
The Hon. Helen Hee-Kyung Chung, a respected Korean educator and member of the Korean National Legislative Assembly, helped generate support for the campaign during a visit to Vancouver in 1992.
At meetings with the alumni of Seoul's Ewha Girls' High School as well as with the BCSAKS board of directors, she inspired members of the local community to contribute to UBC. Her donation of $125,000 was the campaign's lead gift.
The funds raised through the BCSAKS campaign will support graduate fellowships, faculty exchanges and library collections to assist in advanced research.
In recognition of the BCSAKS gift, the reading room in the Centre for Korean Research will be named The British Columbia Society for the Advancement of Korean Studies (BCSAKS) Reading Room.
BCSAKS is a Vancouver-based organization which is led by not only respected business leaders and professionals but also UBC professors (Young Suk Moon, Tae H. Oum, Seong-Soo Lee) who provided organizational skills and leadership as part of their university service activities. It was established to promote understanding of Korean society among Canadians.
It offers financial support to Korean studies programs at Canadian educational institutions, supports exchange programs for scholars, students, artists and educators between Canada and Korea as well as Korean heritage, language, and culture programs and other activities that enhance communications between Canada and Korea.
Members of the BCSAKS group attended the official opening of the new home of the Institute of Asian Research and the Centre for Korean Research in the C.K. Choi Building on Oct. 7.