UW’s Korea Studies Program renamed to honor Paull Shin

SEATTLE — Seven years ago, faculty at the University of Washington voted to rename its Korea Studies Program in honor of then-state Sen. Paull Shin because of his unwavering commitment to its development.

But the Edmonds Democrat asked them to wait until he was out of office.

He left in January and UW faculty on Thursday made the program’s new name official.

“What a blessing that is. I really appreciate it,” Shin said before he and family members attended a renaming ceremony at the university. “I am so honored to be recognized in this way.”

Shin, a onetime chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, worked tirelessly to promote the Korea Studies Program housed in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies.

He talked up the program in trips to South Korea, where he would meet with business and education leaders. He passed legislation in Olympia that boosted instruction about the language and culture of Korea and other Asian nations.

And he helped corral funding for the Korea Studies Program as well. Through the years, his contributions and those he helped round up totaled nearly $4 million, according to information compiled by center officials.

Shin was a street orphan during the Korean War and was adopted by Ray Paull, a U.S. Army officer.

In the U.S., he received a GED and eventually a doctorate from the University of Washington and taught for 31 years in Washington’s higher education system. His career included teaching Asian Studies at the UW.

Shin was Washington’s first Korean-American legislator when he was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1992. He won a Senate seat in 1998 and was in his fourth term when he resigned in January, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

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