Kae Hoon Chung came to LSU in the 1960s to earn a Ph.D. after attending college at Seoul National University. He arrived in Baton Rouge a few months early to save enough for housing by working as a hospital janitor. To make ends meet once school started, he worked two part-time jobs, including cleaning stables at a nearby ranch from 3 am-5 am, then in the cafeteria to earn his meals. After classes, he studied in the library until closing, and then went home to sleep before another day of work and school.
It is no surprise that Chung’s 1968 dissertation was called “Developing a Comprehensive Model of Motivation and Performance,” as Chung himself was such a model. At LSU, he received an education, connected with mentors, and had an opportunity to publish in the Academy of Management Journal. These opportunities helped launch his successful teaching career at Wichita State University and Old Dominion University. Chung says he is grateful that LSU bet on him and gave him the tools for a good career and a good life for his family.
Recently Chung’s granddaughter, who is beginning college at Yale, ran across her grandfather’s dissertation when researching the trajectories of academics she admires. Chung’s 300-page dissertation (downloaded 1,833 times since March 2017) is available with thousands of others through the LSU Digital Commons. Her father, James Chung, related that it was a joyful discovery containing some “serious big-brain energy.”
James Chung shared the story with the Libraries, with gratitude for the impact that LSU has had on his family’s life. “The reason I share this story is in part because my father was fortunate that LSU launched his career and life in America. I’m fortunate that meant I was born in Baton Rouge into an academic household that set a strong foundation that has persisted through my life. My daughter was fortunate to find that connection with her grandfather in the LSU Digital Commons. And my parents are thrilled that their granddaughter (and grandson as well) may be following their grandfather’s path into the world of the academy.
Amidst the day-to-day and semester-by-semester obligations of your work, perhaps there aren’t too many windows that provide clarity on the magnitude of the impact of your life’s work. Until now, I had never really stopped to think about how LSU matters in our lives. And for that, I wanted to say thank you from the entire Chung family.”
Through the availability of LSU’s scholarly works in the LSU Digital Commons, works like Kae Hoon Chung’s serve as an inspiration and, to borrow words from Chung’s dissertation, models of motivation and performance.