May 17, 2010

From Oxford, a direct line to Emory's history

Two generations of graduates.

Commencement is a special moment for every graduate, but for one Emory senior who received her diploma May 10, the day was uniquely historic. Hena Chun ’08Ox-’10C is the great-great granddaughter of Yun Ch’i-ho 1893C, a Korean who was Emory’s first international student.  Chun is the first of Yun’s direct descendants to graduate from Emory. 

Yun Ch’i-ho came to Emory when it was located on the original campus in Oxford, Georgia. While studying in Shanghai, he had met Young J. Allen 1858C, a Methodist missionary who encouraged him to continue his studies at Emory.

After receiving his degree Yun returned to Shanghai and later to Korea, where he was an influential political leader and newspaper editor. His influence is still felt in Korea; the words of the Korean national anthem are from “Aegukga,” a poem written by Yun.

Chun grew up in New Jersey, and when it came time to apply for college Emory was the only school in the South that she considered, because of her great-great grandfather’s importance in its history — and Emory’s influence on him. After deciding definitely to come to Emory, she also decided to begin her college career on the Oxford College campus, as the actual place where Yun had studied. 

Chun received a degree in economics, with concentrations in financial economics and business policy. Following graduation and a bit of travel, she will be working in New York with a company in the fashion industry.

Of her time at Emory, Chun says, “It is a very proud accomplishment for me not only that I graduated from a university as prestigious as Emory, but also that I attended the same university as my great-great grandfather.”

Chun and her family can also take pride that ground for the richly diverse graduating class of 2010 was initially broken by their important forebear.

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