A Dream of Supporting Educational Philosophy
Emeritus Professor Jeong Hwan Kim, who is ninety years old this year, is not in good health at the moment. That is why his son, Jewan Kim (KU School of Law) participated in the interview in his father’s place. Emeritus Professor Sun Bo Kang, who has visited his former professor every holiday season, has known Professor Jewan Kim since he was a middle school student. The two professors welcomed each other with warmth and sincerity. The student remembers the old days with the teacher, and the son recalls his father's words. Even though he was not there, the presence of Professor Jeong Hwan Kim was felt at the interview.
“Last spring, my father’s health worsened, and as he was organizing his affairs, he made a decision to establish a scholarship at Korea University, which has been his home for his studies and his heart. The educational philosophy that my father has studied for all his life is not practical study, but basic study. Korea University has produced many excellent educational philosophers. However, it appears that the number of students who want to major in educational philosophy has continuously been declining. In such a situation, my father earnestly hoped that the field of educational philosophy would continue to develop. It seems he became impatient when Professor Sun Bo Kang, his student, retired,” said Professor Jewan Kim, and Emeritus Professor Sun Bo Kang nodded at his side.
According to Professor Sun Bo Kang, among the various branches of education, educational psychology, educational administration, and curriculum are social sciences while educational philosophy is “pure humanities.” Because of its limited practicality, there are considerably fewer research projects that researchers can undertake in the field of educational philosophy. This is why the number of students pursing a master's or doctoral degree in educational philosophy is decreasing.
“Educational philosophy is a discipline that suggests the direction of education. As my teacher has written in the scholarship description, the field of education is a discipline that fosters genuine people. Among the branches of education, educational philosophy is a field that 'awakens' genuine people. Humanistic education, which is the academic climate of Korea University, has also developed based on educational philosophy. My mentor and I sincerely hope that such important scholarship continues to uphold its reputation.”
Emeritus Professor Jeong Hwan Kim was a true teacher who personally demonstrated to Emeritus Professor Sun Bo Kang the significance of the “moral modeling of teachers” and “close relationships between teacher and students” in education. Professor Kang said he was incredibly happy to be able to join the will of such a person. Professor Kang has already donated fifty million won to the College of Education and ten million won to the Department of Education. Upon retiring, he heard that his mentor was making a donation and joined him by donating an additional forty million won with a cumulative total of one hundred million won. This warm relationship is beyond simple sharing.
“Rather than using the donations all at once for a big cause, I hope our donations are shared among many students who cannot afford to pay for their tuition. I hope our small donations can significantly support students who are thinking of giving up their studies because of financial difficulties.”
A Very Special Teacher-Student Relationship
Professor Jeong Hwan Kim and Professor Sun Bo Kang have a very special relationship. These two people spent 15 years at KU as teacher and student, and co-authored two books, Introduction to Education and Educational Philosophy. At first, it was not a co-authored book but was written by a single author. Emeritus Professor Sun Bo Kang succeeded and developed the book first written by his teacher Emeritus Professor Jeong Hwan Kim.
▲Emeritus Professor Sun Bo Kang and Professor Jewan Kim (KU School of Law), the son of Emeritus Professor Jeong Hwan Kim, are talking to each other
“Among the so-called bestsellers, this kind of co-authorship is extremely rare. There is no reason for a co-authorship because the book is already selling well. However, my mentor gladly took out half of what he had written and asked me to rewrite half for the succession and development of the field of study. I was honored to participate in such a meaningful succession.”
There also was a history of succession regarding space. Emeritus Professor Sun Bo Kang is famous for inheriting the lab of Emeritus Professor Jeong Hwan Kim and developing everything he had learned from his professor. Professor Kang first met his him in 1973. One anecdote of those days is still clear in his mind.
“My mentor gave me a perfect score on my midterm exam as a freshman. Later, I read a memoir written by him. He wrote that it was the first time as a professor of KU that he ever gave a perfect score to a student. At that moment, that perfect score gave me tremendous courage.”
1_Jeong Hwan Kim, Emeritus Professor of the Department of Education
2_A group photo with students graduating from the Department of Education in 1994. Emeritus Professor Jeong Hwan Kim is in the front row, second from the left.
Emeritus Professor Kang, who met various people in the military, became interested in interactions among people. As it so happened, Professor Kim was teaching the educational philosophy of social interaction when Kang returned to school after serving the country. It was truly an impressive class. Professor Kang wrote an article on the subject for a thesis contest held at Korea University, and when that article was selected, he was showered with encouragement and support from his professor. This led him to write his master’s thesis on the same subject. His mentor was like the lighthouse guiding his way.
“I graduated from Korea Middle School. A lot of my father's students came to that school for teacher training, and Professor Kang was one of them. If my father is Professor Kang’s teacher, then Professor Kang is my teacher. I still remember Professor Kang visiting my father every holiday season. It was always nice to see such a close and friendly teacher-student relationship.”
As Professor Jewan Kim reflected, Professor Kang’s eyes were also searching for distant memories. The presence of Emeritus Professor Jeong Hwan Kim grew more apparent.
Emeritus Professor Sun Bo Kang and Professor Jewan Kim (KU School of Law), the son of Emeritus Professor Jeong Hwan Kim, are talking to each other.
“Thank you. We will not forget you.”
Emeritus Professor Jeong Hwan Kim demonstrated love for his students until he passed away on July 20th, 2019. The editorial team is heavy-hearted to hear of the passing of Professor Kim right after the publication of this issue. We hope that this article can deliver the sincerity and heart of the late Professor Jeong Hwan Kim to many KU alumni. Also, we inform you that the article in the issue delivered to your homes and the article published on the Internet may be different. May Professor Kim rest in peace.