[Tae-Joon Park Commemoration] Tae-Joon Park, the Greatest in Modern Korean History
[Tae-Joon Park Commemoration] Tae-Joon Park, the Greatest in Modern Korean History
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  • 승인 2012.01.01 13:24
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▲ Lee Dae-gong(second left) and Tae-Joon Park(fourth left) walk in front of POSTECH in construction.

Our founding chairman, and also the greatest among modern Koreans, Tae-Joon Park left a lot of heritages. Real evidences, including steel mill of POSCO, 14 schools in Pohang and Gwangyang, and POSTECH, which already grows as a world-class university, correspond to them. Moreover, there were two prominent philosophies which say “Serve the nation through steelmaking, and Serve the nation through education.” As a director in charge of the construction of POSTECH, only within a year and ten months did I finish establishing softwares, hardwares, and humanwares, and that’s why I couldn’t stop being influenced by his heritages. The start was not easy. Only two PhDs, Dr. Kim Chul-woo and Dr. Shin Yeong-gil agreed to join in the early stage of POSCO. Park really felt sorry for that, but people avoided working in rural Pohang and inviting scholars didn’t work out. When he was looking around renowned universities abroad, suggesting the necessity of research-oriented university like California Institute of Technology (Caltech) he visited Caltech and asked the vice president for advice. However, the vice president of Caltech looked to be lacking on that idea. Despite the lack of understanding, Mr. Park still had conviction to build a university like Caltech because Caltech was the model Park had always wished, which includes both great science and engineering departments.

The beautiful and harmonious campus of POSTECH had been admired by visitors. After looking at a lot of campuses inside and outside the country, it was decided to refer to the design of Universite de Technologie de Compiegne in France, and Gyeongsang University. The design was up to ROE/ELISEO International, ltd in USA, which had experiences of designing campuses. The cost for design got resolved by profits from Tanoma Coal in Pennsylvania, USA, founded by POSCO to develop mines. Moreover, there was a common duct in the basement of POSTECH, which connects facilities. The construction of a large duct which enables cars to move was shocking at that time.

When POSTECH was first founded, Mr. Park put efforts to recruit professors from abroad. Inviting scholars and their spouses to the meeting in Parklane Hotel New York was the typical example. At that time, the Ministry of Science and Technology also tried to invite scholars and we could collaborate with them. The benefit from that is firstly given to the late Prof. Lee Jeong-mook, who had trouble with public servants while moving from abroad to Busan. Right after the call of the ministry, he passed immigration control office.

During the construction of POSTECH, there was a new steel mill in construction at Gwangyang. However, every day Park took time out of his busy schedule and visited POSTECH construction site or called me to check progress. Like this, Mr. Park conducted all-weather and all-direction tasks at the same time.

I visited Mr. Park last Nov. 18th and showed the picture of the statue of himself which had been planned to be built in POSTECH. And after 10 days I stood next to the statue to be pictured to show the size of the statue and sent it to Park. I heard he said “It is a person who I know…” It was really fortunate that the unveiling ceremony of the statue was held 10 days before he passed away. Usually, we select the great man from the distant countries and eras. However, here it is. The great achievements of Tae-Joon Park remain forever with the history of us, and glow more and more in the future.

Chairman of POSCO Education Foundation and also the director of POSTECH construction,
Lee Dae-gong


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