Emory Report
May 31, 2005
Volume 57, Number 31


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May 31, 2005
Leadership, hard work, service pay off with Kim's $20K award

BY beverly clark

Service and leadership have defined the college career of graduating senior and past student government president Jimin Kim. Her dedication and hard work did not go unnoticed by the University, which named Kim the 2005 McMullan Award recipient—worth $20,000, no strings attached.

The Lucius Lamar McMullan Award, endowed by Emory alumnus William Matheson, ’47G, in honor of his uncle, is given to a graduating senior who exhibits “outstanding citizenship, exceptional leadership and potential for service to his or her community, the nation and the world.” The donor’s intention is to allow a student to do something he or she wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.

“I was incredibly shocked to receive the McMullan Award,” said Kim, a native of Madison, Ala. “There are so many great people in my class. It’s a tremendous honor, and I am deeply humbled by it.”

As president of Emory’s Student Government Association (SGA) during the 2004–05 school year, Kim oversaw a 13-person cabinet, a three-person staff and $1.7 million budget, and represented 11,000 students to the University community and administration. The year before, she served as executive vice president of SGA.

During her tenure as SGA president, Kim worked to develop the Emory Pact, a proposed financial aid program that would allow highly qualified students from low-income households to enroll and graduate from Emory debt-free. She also successfully negotiated an agreement with students, administrators and Emory neighbors to resolve a 7-year-old conflict regarding outdoor concerts, and helped push Emory to form a mental health task force.

Next year, Kim will teach English in a public high school in South Korea—just as she did last summer, but this time as a Fulbright Scholar. As part of her Fulbright fellowship, Kim, an economics major, also plans to research the political and economic development of North Korea.

“This subject is where my passion lies and is very close to me,” says Kim, whose parents immigrated to the United States from South Korea in 1979. “Right now I want to direct my energy toward finding ways to facilitate peace on the Korean peninsula.”

Touted as a lifelong leader, organizer and mentor by one of her nominators, Kim also served on the Atlanta Collegiate Council, an advisory board to Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, and the campus life committee of the University Senate.

An outstanding student who also held down a part-time job at the University Bookstore, Kim is a member of the Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Epsilon and John Gordon Stipe honor societies, and is a National Merit Scholar. In addition to her community service work and scholarship, Kim paints, plays piano and writes poetry.

After next year, Kim plans to study international law and hopes eventually to develop a nongovernmental organization to promote human rights, social justice, economic development and education, particularly in East Asia. “For the long term, as long as I am an active citizen causing change, I know I will be happy,” she said.