IU Bloomington, Maurer School present new Distinguished International Alumni awards

Dec. 2, 2013


SEOUL, South Korea -- Jun Kwang-woo, former chairman of South Korea’s National Pension Service, became the first recipient of Indiana University Bloomington’s new Distinguished International Alumni Award on Sunday evening.

IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel presented the award at the annual gathering of the Korea Chapter of the IU Alumni Association in Seoul. Created this year, the award recognizes the outstanding lifetime achievement of international IU Bloomington alumni whose careers and contributions have had a profound international impact resulting in lasting benefit to society.

As chairman of South Korea’s National Pension Service, Jun oversaw what is currently the world’s third-largest public pension fund with over $400 billion in assets.

“Dr. Jun embodies all of the qualities we sought to honor with this award: dedicated service, a long record of leadership and a tremendous scale and scope of accomplishment,” Robel said. “Through his committed efforts in both the public and private sectors, he has had a key role in guiding and securing the economic future of South Korea.”

Robel, who is a former dean of IU’s Maurer School of Law, also presented the school’s newly created J. William Hicks Award for Distinguished International Alumni. The inaugural recipient is law alumna Heejin Cho, research commissioner at South Korea’s Institute of Justice. Named for IU law professor William Hicks, the award recognizes the accomplishments of international alumni whose careers serve as an inspiration to young lawyers.

“There was no more appropriate recipient for this award than Commissioner Cho," Maurer School Interim Dean Hannah Buxbaum said. "Her fierce dedication to her field enabled her to break through gender barriers and steadily rise to become the highest ranking woman prosecutor in South Korea.”

Both awards were presented during the IU Korea Alumni Club Gala Winter Banquet at the Novotel Ambassador Hotel in the Gangnam area of Seoul.

About the recipients:

Jun Kwang-woo

Distinguished International Alumni Award recipient Jun Kwang-woo earned an MBA and Ph.D. in finance from Indiana University in 1981. After serving as a finance professor at Michigan State University, he spent 14 years as a chief economist and director of international finance with the World Bank before returning to South Korea as special adviser to the deputy prime minister for finance and economy.

Jun went on to serve as director of the Korea Center for International Finance and as vice chairman of Woori Financial Group, South Korea’s first financial holding company. From 2004 to 2008, he was chairman of Deloitte Korea while concurrently serving as South Korea’s ambassador for international finance. He also served as chairman of the Asia-Pacific Regional Committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions.

As chairman of the National Pension Service from 2009 to April 2013, he served as the chief executive of the 5,000-member public organization as well as overseeing one of the world’s largest pension funds. Jun retired from the position earlier this year and is now a distinguished professor at Yonsei University’s Graduate School of Economics.

Heejin Cho

J. William Hicks Award recipient Heejin Cho began her legal career in 1987, at a time when female prosecutors were almost unheard of in South Korea. She received her LLM from Indiana University in 2000, after which she joined the South Korean Ministry of Justice. She went on to serve as the senior prosecutor for the Criminal Investigation Department of the Uijeonbu District Prosecutor’s Office, then for the Criminal Trial Department and subsequently the Criminal Investigation Department of the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office. In 2005, she also became a professor at the Judicial Research and Training Institute.

Cho served as the commissioner of the Cheonon Branch of the Daejon District Public Prosecutor’s Office before becoming research commissioner of the Legal Research and Training Institute this year. She is the highest ranked female prosecutor in South Korea. 

More about the Korea Alumni Club banquet and additional news and photos from Provost Robel's visit to South Korea are available at the blog "A Week in South Korea."