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July 27, 2004

U-M alumnus fulfills dream with $1 million gift

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Elder Sang-Yong Nam has earmarked a $1 million gift to be used by three programs within the University of Michigan in support of greater understanding and collaboration between the U-M community and Korea.

Nam will give $500,000 to the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts to establish the Elder Sang-Yong Nam and Mrs. Moon-Sook Nam Endowment Fund. The funds will be used in support of the Korean Studies Program, part of U-M's International Institute. Nam is also giving $200,000 to the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning to establish the Elder Sang-Yong Nam and Mrs. Moon-Sook Nam Fund for a student and faculty exchange program with Chung-Ang University and for merit scholarships for architecture and urban planning students from other Korean institutions as endorsed by the Korean Institute of Architects (KIA). The third Nam donation of $300,000 has enabled the U-M Museum of Art to acquire the Bruce and Inta Hasenkamp collection of Korean art.

In 1964, all Nam wanted to do was come to the United States and continue his advanced studies. With the help of several people from Ann Arbor and U.S. government workers in Korea, Nam found his dreams fulfilled when he was accepted into the City Planning Program at the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at U-M.

"I was thrilled when I found out that I was accepted. From that day on, I was a Michigan man," Nam said. "From that first moment, I loved the University of Michigan."

After graduating in 1966, Nam took a job as senior planner for the Washtenaw County Metropolitan Planning Commission. In 1974, he bought his first piece of commercial real estate and by 1980, the Nam Building Management Co. was born. Today he owns 452 rental units in 50 buildings throughout Washtenaw County. Nam was also instrumental in the development of the Korean Studies Program at U-M.

"Elder and Mrs. Sang-Yong Nam have been a great support to the Korean Studies Program in both their enthusiasm and resources," said Meredith Woo-Cumings, director of the Korean Studies Program.

Nam also has scholarships established at two universities in Korea and one in China. He is a lifetime member of the U-M Alumni Association, the U-M President's Club where he is recognized in the prestigious Presidential Societies at the Angell Society level that acknowledges cumulative gifts to the University of $1 million or more, and the John Monteith Society. In 2002, Nam received the Distinguished Service Award from the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Outside of the U-M, Nam is active in the Rotary Club and is an adjunct professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China.

"We arrive empty handed and we leave empty handed," Nam said. "If I make more money, I'll give more money away."

To find out more about the Korean Studies Program, visit http://www.umich.edu/~iinet/ksp/geninfo.html.

Contact: Meredith Woo-Cumings
Phone: (734) 764-6285
E-mail: mwoc@umich.edu