College Celebrates Korean Community Partnership

(From left) Eunju Ryu; Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D.; Kil Yi, Ph.D.; Judy Chang; Mina Ahn, Ph.D.; Kevin Shim; and Kyu Kim.

TENAFLY, N.J. – During a midday event May 10, Bergen Community College and the Korean Community Center celebrated the members of the inaugural class of graduates from the organizations’ learning community outreach program that began this semester. The recognition ceremony took place at the Korean Community Center’s facility at 100 Grove Street; attendees included College trustees, faculty, staff and organizers.

“This program speaks of the value the Korean community places on education and the importance of learning,” Bergen President Michael D. Redmond, Ph.D., said at the event. “We hope to build upon this partnership in the days, months and years ahead.”

The program has featured a series of lectures on American history, government and politics led by Bergen Professor Kil Yi, Ph.D., for Korean Community Center members – many of whom emigrated to the United States during the last 50 years. Yi and fellow Bergen Professor Mina Ahn, Ph.D., developed the program with Korean Community Center CEO Eunju Ryu, hosting lectures such as “Culture of Prosperity,” “Culture of Inequality” and “Culture of Progress.” Ultimately, more than 150 predominately Bergen County residents participated in the program. As part of the May 10 ceremony, they each received a certificate of completion.

Due to the success of the initiative, the College plans to expand the model to other demographic, ethnic and cultural groups by creating additional learning community programs.

According to the federal government, Bergen County contains –by percentage of the overall population – each of the top 10 municipalities in the United States for Korean-Americans. The College enrolls 357 students with Korean citizenship – the highest number of students from any country other than the United States.

The Korean Community Center promotes healthy and independent living for all ages and to integrate the people with Korean heritage into the greater community through culture and education, outreach, health and social services and civic advocacy.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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