Saturday, May 19, 2012

Raising money for the Korean Heritage Room in the Cathedral of Learning.

A rendering of the proposed Korean Heritage Room to go in room 304 in the University of Pittsburgh's Catherdal of Learning.

For years there has been talk of creating a Korean Nationality Room in the Cathedral of Learning to join the 29 already there. Recently there have been renewed fundraising efforts to hopefully get construction started in 2013 and to have it open by 2014. A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article from March has some more information. The Korean Heritage Room Committee has a webpage, but their Twitter feed says it won't be ready until mid-May. It's not ready yet, but I've reprinted some information from a brochure in order to fill in the gaps:
Dear Korean Community Members and Friends of Korea,

As you may know, the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh is a historic landmark which receives the utmost admiration locally as well as internationally.

One of its unique features is that it serves the home of 29 Nationality Rooms, each exhibiting its own cultural heritage using various historic renderings and artworks and thus serves as tangible, permanent "ambassadors" of the represented nations.

In 2007, the University of Pittsburgh approved the installation of the Korean Heritage Room (KHR) and recently reorganized the KHR Committee has been diligently planning for the project.

An extimated cost of the project is $650,000 and thus far we have secured about $340,000 from the gnerous contribution from the Korean community, the Korean Foundation and Poongsan Incorporation of Korea. Additional grants are expected from Korea but we still have to raise substantial amounts of funds to complete the rom.

In parallel of the fund-raising effort, we are in the process of finalizing the design created by the Korean architects.

The design of the KHR is faithfully based on our historic academic institution, Sungkuenkwan. The room wil be equipped with a state-of-the-art audiovisual system including an interactive touch screen LCD monitor. Thus through this endeavor, we will have an opportunity to showcase our splendid 5000-year history and cultural image, as well as the intellectual and economic prosperity of South Korea.

The timeline of our project requires that our fund-raising be done by the end of 2012 in order for set completion of construction in 2013, and dedication in 2014. Although the task seems ambitious, it can only be possible with your support.

The brochure then says if you would like to donate, you may send a check made payable to the University of Pittsburgh to
Professor Sangyeun Cho
Computer Science Department
University of Pittsburgh
5415 Sennott Square
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
The plan is to turn room 304 into a Korean Heritage Room that reflects the era of Sungkyunkwan University's early years (the school was founded in 1398). Classroom space is at a premium now at the university, and because these Nationaliy Rooms are often more form than function that could be an obstacle. Nevertheless it will be an excellent addition to the building, a sign of the slow-but-sleady growth of the Korean-language program at Pitt, a reflection of the city's growth beyond the better-known European immigrant communities to a more modern reality.