Dr. Kyo Jhin, the CEO of the Global Initiative on Computers for Schools, an organization with a goal to provide 500,000 computers for schools in 60 developing countries, returned to Freed-Hardeman University Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018.
In a chapel speech, accompanied by a slide show, he recounted some of his experiences in the years since he graduated in 1958. As he showed slides of himself speaking to the United Nations or posing with world leaders, he frequently said, “That’s me up there! Little me!” To say he has had an eventful life would be an understatement.
With the help of an American soldier’s mother, Jhin came to Freed-Hardeman and Henderson from South Korea in 1955. “The love of Mrs. Lillie Phillips (then a Henderson resident) brought me to America from Korea,” he said. He had met her son Edgar who was serving as a company commander in Korea. Jhin and Phillips began a correspondence that resulted in his coming to Henderson. In addition to the letters, Mrs. Phillips also sent Jhin his first Bible.
Living next door to Paul Gray Hall, Mrs. Phillips washed students’ clothes for ten cents per shirt. When she had washed 2,500 shirts, she sent the money to H.A. Dixon, president of Freed-Hardeman, and asked him to help bring Jhin to America. Dixon provided a full scholarship for two years and Jhin earned his associate’s degree. “Mrs. Phillips was rich in spirit and helped me begin this wonderful journey,” Jhin said.
Jhin continued his education, earning his baccalaureate degree at David Lipscomb College and then two master’s degrees and a doctorate. He has received presidential appointments from three United States presidents: President Gerald Ford appointed him as a member of the National Advisory Council on Adult Education; President George H. Bush appointed him executive assistant to the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs; and President George W. Bush appointed him the director of Peace Corps’ Special Initiatives.
His accomplishments have been recognized nationally and internationally. Korean President Kim Dae Jung presented him the Kukmin-Hunchang Dongpaik-Chang, the highest South Korean civilian award. He is also a recipient of an Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Jhin has served the United States of America through his work with the Peace Corps, Veterans’ Affairs, United States Department of Education and voters’ coalitions.
“I wouldn’t have done any of this without courage, and I wouldn’t have that courage if it weren’t for my time at Freed-Hardeman,” Jhin said.
Despite the accolades and the photographs with public figures, Jhin said he is most proud of his experience in establishing churches in Virginia, Alabama and New York. “That is the best thing any of can do,” he said, “to establish churches and tell the world about Jesus Christ.”
Locally, Henderson Mayor Bobby King and Chester County Mayor Barry Hutcherson proclaimed Oct. 2, 2018, “Dr. Kyo Jhin Day,” and FHU President David Shannon named him a Distinguished Alumnus. Jhin and his guests were honored at a luncheon Tuesday.
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