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A Celebration Honoring the Career and Service of Senator Paull Shin

May 29, 2014

The College of Arts and Sciences and the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies are celebrating Paull Shin and his unwavering commitment to the Korea Studies Program at the University of Washington. The Korea Studies Program will also be named in his honor. This event will be taking place Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. The official ceremony begins at 2:00 p.m. The celebration will take place in the Husky Union Building, in room 145 on the University of Washington campus. Please make sure to RSVP by June 1st to Thaddeus Teo at or (206) 616-1157.

Shin was born in Korea in 1935. Orphaned at the age of four, he lived on the streets of Seoul begging for food until the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, at which point he became a houseboy to a group of U.S. Army officers. In 1954, one of them, a dentist named Ray Paull, adopted Shin and took him home to Salt Lake City, Utah. Despite never having been educated in Korea, and knowing little English, Shin completed a GED in 18 months. Shin went on to earn a BA in political science from Brigham Young University, an MPIA from the University of Pittsburgh, and an MA and PhD from the University of Washington. After being elected to the Washington State House of Representatives in 1992, he was elected to the Washington State Senate in 1998.

Senator Paull Shin is an eminent member of the local Korean-American community an alumnus of the University of Washington, and an ardent supporter of the UW Korea Studies Program. The first Korean American elected to the Washington State Senate, he represented the 21st Legislative District for 15 years. As former chair of the Senate of Higher Education Committee and a longtime college professor, education has always been one of Senator Shin’s main priorities. He has demonstrated great concern for the University of Washington’s welfare and played a central role in the University’s development of Korean Studies.

The University of Washington Center for Human Rights was established by an initiative of the Washington State legislature in 2009, following a decade of ambitious program-building on all three UW campuses. In 2008, a generous donation from the Henry M. Jackson Foundation made possible the creation of the Helen H. Jackson Endowed Chair in Human Rights, lending new momentum to longstanding efforts to create an institutional home for human rights at the University of Washington. Senator Paull Shin sponsored a bill in the 2008-09 Washington state legislative session to create the Center for Human Rights, which was signed into law by Governor Christine Gregoire in June 2009.

As Senator Paull Shin has contributed greatly the University of Washington and the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, the school is pleased to recognize these important contributions and acknowledge Senator Shin’s legacy by naming the Korean Studies Program in his honor.