Korean diplomat visits Roanoke College, honors enduring relationship

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 7:48 PM EDT
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - As Seijoong Kwon walked across the Roanoke College campus with President Mike Maxey Wednesday morning, the Consul-General was renewing a relationship that’s endured for more than a century.

They stopped to admire the historical marker, dedicated earlier this year, that tells the story of Kim Kyusik, a 1903 graduate who played an important role in the modern history of Korea.

And they took a closer look at items from the Roanoke College archives.

“Kim Kyusik is a very important figure in the Korean independence movement,” Kwon told WDBJ7. “I also learned about him in a Korean history textbook, but almost nobody knows he studied here.”

“I learned that Korean students in the 19th century studied here, Korean elites at the time, so I was astonished to see, it was thrilling to see that information,” he said.

The items on display at the Fintel Library are just a small portion of the materials related to the school’s Korean connections.

President Maxey said the school would welcome Korean researchers interested in taking a closer look at the archives.

“The college has such a long history with the Republic of Korea, most notably Kim Kyusik, but others as well,” Maxey said. “And so, we’re here in this part of the world, but we’re connected to the world and this is a good reminder.”

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