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Lim Kwon-Taek and an Honorary Doctorate

Posted July. 03, 2002 22:34,   


It is a sturn reality that the significance of granting an honorary doctorate has been reduced to a means to advertise a university and gain money, power and reputation rather than a respect and valuation for achievements by a human being.

In that sense, the ceremony to award an honorary doctorate in literature to film director Lim Kwon-taek, which was held on the 2nd in the Catholic University of Korea (CUK) was an occasion with a lot of significance for both the university and Lim.

The university introduced all the activities and life of Lim and paid homage to what he has accomplished through filming. All participants on hand were impressed with the simple but warm ceremony and reception.

Watching the ceremony, people came to understand why the CUK, which does not have film-related department, granted an honorary doctorate to Lim.

The university marking the 147th anniversary of its establishment granted an honorary doctorate to only nine people.

President Oh Chang-sun of the university said in a speech, "Lim has served as a role model for us by overcoming personal hardship and throwing off the yoke of his family." He went onto say, "Lim`s films are based on the loving spirit of mankind, showing that no ideology can reign over human sacrifice. His spirit is in accord with `Respect Humans`, the university`s philosophy and provides lessons for the Korean public. That why we decided to award him an honorary doctorate."

Professor Lee Han-Taek, who introduced himself as a huge fan of Lim, said in his congratulatory remarks, "The CUK decided to grant an honorary doctorate to Lim, a middle school dropout, because the university highly valued his achievements, not his academic background. In this vein, this event signals a silent message to the nation`s educational system, students and parents."

Then, Lim, who has never felt ashamed of his poor educational background, read a speech he prepared earlier. "In retrospect, I did not have an opportunity for decent education. Thus I had to go through a lot of difficulties, crises and a sense of inferiority as a film director. ... I was born and grown up in Korea in Far East Asia. I think what I could do as a film director is to express lives and culture of Koreans. I hope I can contribute even a bit to introduce their lives and culture to the World."

People are already looking forward to theses Lim would write as an honorary Ph.D.