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Passages: Dr. Joseph Ha remembered

May 04, 2011

  • Dr. Joseph Ha

On Sunday, May 1, 2011 in Agnes Flanagan Chapel, family, friends and colleagues gathered to remember Dr. Joseph Ha, Professor Emeritus of International Affairs.  Dr. Ha began his service at Lewis & Clark in 1971, and after leaving the college in 1997 he went on to work at Nike.  Condolences from the President of the Republic of Korea and the Korean Ambassador to the U.S. were part of the Celebration of Life held at 1 PM in the chapel.

Born in Korea, Dr. Joseph Man-Kyung Ha came to the United States to pursue his education with the support of a Christian missionaries.. He earned his passage across the ocean by working on a ship and arrived in Seattle with 25 cents to his name and a powerful commitment to improving his life through education. He earned his bachelors degree in political science at the University of Washington, and then went on to Columbia University where he earned his doctorate in International Relations and a certificate in Russian Studies from the Harriman Institute.

In 1971, Joe, his wife Kay, and their daughter Karen moved to Portland where Joe had a one year visiting position at Lewis & Clark. That position was quickly converted to a tenure line appointment and Joe served as a professor at the College until his retirement in 1997. For 22 of those years, he chaired the International Affairs program and developed its reputation for sending well-prepared students on to top graduate programs and significant international careers. Joe was deeply committed to his students’ success during their college years and beyond.

Joe was a prolific and recognized scholar who published numerous books and articles in the fields of international relations. In addition to his work as an academic, he was also active in international politics and business. From 1981 until 1996, he served as a Consultant for Global Business at Nike. Upon his retirement from Lewis & Clark, he became the Vice President of International Business and Government Relations at Nike. In that capacity, he supervised Nike’s businesses in Korea and Japan, assisted with Nike’s government relations abroad, and represented Nike on public and private boards. He was also active in civic affairs and helped to develop Portland’s sister city relationships with Khabarovsk, Russia, Ulsan, South Korea and Suzhou, China..

Over the course of his lifetime, Joe received numerous distinctions and awards, ranging from honorary degrees from universities in Russia and Korea to the Columbia University Harriman Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1997, the Man of the Year Award for Overseas Koreans in 1998, and Portland Consular Corps International Citizenship Award in 2000. Just last year, he received the Mayor’s Award at the Spirit of Portland Award Ceremony.

Joe is survived by his daughter, Karen Chi, her husband, Willard, a graduate of our Law School, and their three daughters.