Korean-American appointed dean of Yale LawNEW YORK ― Harold Hongju Koh, who served as assistant secretary of state during the Clinton administration and has taught law at Yale University, has been appointed dean of Yale Law School.
Mr. Koh, an expert in international human rights law, will begin serving a five-year term starting next July.
“As a scholar, teacher, lawyer, and public servant, Harold Koh embodies those qualities that distinguish Yale’s great law school,” said Yale’s president, Richard Levin. “He is a natural leader who has earned the overwhelming support and confidence of faculty, students, alumni and staff. We all look forward to his stewardship.”
In accepting the position, Mr. Koh said, “It is the greatest honor of my life to be asked to serve as dean of the world’s leading law school.”
U.S News and World Report magazine, which ranks universities and graduate schools each year, placed Yale Law School first among all law schools in the United States in its 2004 survey.
After graduating from Harvard College, Oxford and Harvard Law School, Mr. Koh worked as a law clerk under U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun. He also practiced law in Washington, D.C. In 1985, Mr. Koh became a professor at Yale Law School and was later asked to join the Clinton administration.
Following three years of public service in human rights and labor, Mr. Koh returned to Yale in 2001 to teach International law.
As a child, Mr. Koh suffered from polio and to this day has difficulty walking. But that did not hinder him. He was once considered a candidate for a Supreme Court seat.
Mr. Koh also served as director of the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School, and campaigned for the human rights of Haitian and Cuban refugees.
Mr. Koh’s late father, Kwang Lim-koh, was working at the Korean Embassy in the United States when a military coup under the command of Park Chung Hee overturned the government of Korea in 1961. The Kohs defected to New Haven, Connecticut, that year.
Mr. Koh’s mother, Hesung Chun Koh, is director of East Asian Area Research at Yale. Mr. Koh’s brother, Howard Koh, serves as associate dean at the Harvard School of Public Health.
by Shim Sang-bok