A delegation from the Korean Embassy visits Roanoke College


Kim Kyusik (1881-1950) was born in Korea and graduated from Roanoke College in 1903. Kim was orphaned as a young child and adopted by Dr. Horace Underwood, a Presbyterian missionary. It was through Underwood that Kim came to Roanoke College, a Lutheran-related institution.

“There is no exaggeration, it was probably the Roanoke graduate who had a greater influence on world affairs than any Roanoke graduate,” President Maxey said at the inauguration. .

Kim served in the China-based Korean Provisional Government as foreign secretary and then as education minister and vice president. He advocated for Korean independence at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, promoted the Korean cause in the United States as Chairman of the Korean Commission, and helped organize the Korean National Revolutionary Party in China. After World War II, Kim opposed the permanent partition of Korea between North and South. He was kidnapped by the North Korean military during the Korean War and died in captivity.

Xu discovered an 1892 news report about another Korean embassy visit in 1892. Dr. Julius Dreher, third president of Roanoke College, hosted Korea’s first diplomat, Ye Cha Yun, and his wife in Salem in July 1892. The article said the couple stayed in Salem for a week and visited Natural Bridge and Luray Caverns during their trip. Representatives from Korea also visited Roanoke College for the half-centennial in 1903.

Kim was nominated for the historical marker by students at Cumberland Middle School in Cumberland, Va., in a competition sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Governor’s Office to nominate Asian American Pacific Islanders for historical markers. The students and their teacher, history teacher Lewis Longenecker, attended the inauguration of the marker in April.


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