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$25 million gift from billionaire philanthropist Michael B. Kim to establish institute for ethical inquiry and leadership
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$25 million gift from billionaire philanthropist Michael B. Kim to establish institute for ethical inquiry and leadership

New institute is a cornerstone of Haverford 2030, the College’s strategic plan.

Through it, students will discover new pathways to become the world’s ethical thinkers and leaders.

For generations of Fords, whose first official act upon matriculation is to pledge allegiance to the Honor Code, ‘doing the right thing’ is more than a guiding principle of campus life and work. It becomes a lifelong commitment to the betterment of community by considering how our actions as individuals impact others.

Such concern — captured so well by the distinctly Haverfordian phrase ‘trust, concern, and respect’ — has inspired Michael B. Kim  to give the College $25 million to establish and support Haverford’s new Institute for Ethical Inquiry and Leadership.

“Ethical inquiry is at the core of a Haverford education, and leadership without ethics is a body without a soul,” says Michael Kim. “The new Institute, with its interdisciplinary approach and international engagement, will pioneer the way we think about ethics and practice ethics-based leadership in the global community.”

A Haverford education wrestles with critical ethical questions in the classroom, laboratory, studio, and field, encouraging students to steep themselves in ethical inquiry, and to seek justice and right relationship in all of their endeavors. Cultivating a quality of mind, heart, and practice, the Institute will offer an innovative residential liberal arts experience centered on ethics in action. At the heart of the Institute’s work is a cross-disciplinary and practice-based approach that understands ethical impact and global engagement as crucial to the work of the liberal arts. Its unique interdisciplinary context will add depth, breadth, and dimension to the College’s current educational model.

Michael Kim’s foundational gift will catalyze a major fundraising effort to realize the full vision of this new college-wide initiative. Highlights will include:

A new Ethical Inquiry and Leadership sequence within the curriculum, led by the faculty

Endowed professorships across the liberal arts to engage in curricular and programming foci of the Ethical Inquiry and Leadership Institute

Endowed staffing and programming support to engage community leaders and partners in year-round opportunities

A new building that will have flexible, communal spaces for teaching, meeting, research, and active projects, in support of our emerging comprehensive campus plan

“This transformative gift and the Institute it will create clearly articulate Haverford’s enduring commitment to an ethically centered liberal arts education,” says Haverford President Wendy Raymond. “Through the institute, our students will be provided with rigorous, interdisciplinary opportunities as they prepare for lives of integrity, ambition, and purpose. I am extraordinarily grateful for Michael’s incredible leadership and support of the College.”

The Institute is a cornerstone of Haverford 2030, our strategic plan that calls for enlivened pathways through liberal arts education and career development opportunities, new modes of experiential learning, and support for areas of learning that will situate students in the world as ethical thinkers and leaders.

Long involved with his alma mater as a volunteer, Kim served on its Board of Managers from 2005-17. Philanthropically, he stepped up during the College’s most recent fundraising campaign and built one of the 200-acre campus’ newest dorms, naming it for his father, Ki Yong Kim. With his novel published and business well established, Kim has renewed his commitment of service to Haverford and recently returned to the College’s Board of Managers. He will become its chair on July 1.

“I look forward to working, with Wendy Raymond and the College leadership, to advance our central mission of academic excellence and to support our special, values-based community.”

Michael ByungJu Kim is a Korean American billionaire businessman.He is the founder and chairman of MBK Partners, a private equity firm headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. He has been called the “Godfather of Asian private equity”.

Kim is the chair of the board of Haverford College. Kim has been named to Bloomberg’s Most Influential People[5] in the world and Forbes Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy. According to Forbes, Kim had a net wealth of $9.7 billion as of April 2023, ranking him the richest person in Korea and #190 in the world.

Michael B. Kim was born in Jinhae, South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea in 1963.[8] He grew up in Seoul and went to the U.S. for his secondary schooling. Kim graduated from Haverford College in 1985 with a degree in English. Kim received an MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1990 and received a Fulbright Scholarship afterwards.

Kim began his career as a mergers and acquisitions banker at Goldman Sachs after graduating from Harvard. In 1995, he joined Salomon Smith Barney, where he became a managing director and COO of Asia-Pacific Investment Banking. He later joined the Carlyle Group as a president of Carlyle Asia until 2005.

Kim left Carlyle to found MBK Partners in 2005, which has since grown to over $30 billion in assets under management,[1] raising $6.5 billion for its most recent Fund V, becoming the largest independent private equity firm in Asia.

Kim has broken several records in the South Korean market. His takeover of ING Korea and listing on the market, was the first time a private-equity owned company listed on exchanges in South Korea. His takeover of Tesco subsidiary Homeplus was the largest private equity deal in South Korea’s history.

In Japan, Kim and MBK Partners acquired Godiva Japan in one of the largest deals in the consumer sector in Japan’s history. In China, Kim and MBK Partners acquired eHi Car Services, one of the largest car rental and services companies in China.

Kim is chairman of Haverford College and the MBK Scholarship Foundation. He is or has been on the boards of Harvard Business School, Haverford College, KorAm Bank, China Network Systems, Yayoi, C&M, Tasaki, Universal Studios Japan, Coway, ING Life Korea, Homeplus, RAND Corporation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Public Library, Carnegie Hall, Asia Business Leaders Advisory Council and Temasek Philanthropy Asia Alliance.

In 2013 the Asian Venture Capital Journal named Kim as “Private Equity Professional of the Year,” and in Finance Asia’s 20th anniversary issue in 2016, Kim was called the “Godfather of Asian Private Equity”.

Kim was appeared in ab August 2022 Financial Times article, “How South Korea learned to love private equity,” which called Kim the “godfather of Asian private equity” and one of the founding pioneers of the industry in the region.

In 2015 Kim was ranked #42 on Bloomberg’s 50 Most Influential. Kim appeared on the cover of the July 2020 edition of Forbes Asia.

In 2021, Kim was ranked #5 on Forbes’ The Richest Private Equity Billionaires, and in 2023, Kim was ranked #1 on Forbes’ Korea’s 50 Richest, with a net worth of $9.7 billion.

In January 2022, Kim’s firm, MBK Partners, sold an approximately 13% stake to Dyal Capital Partners in a transaction valued at about $1 billion.

Kim is the author of a novel, Offerings, published in 2020.

In July 2022, the Washington Post reported that Kim was among those interested in buying the Washington Nationals, the MLB team.

In 2010, Kim pledged $7.5 million toward the construction of a new dormitory at Haverford College.

In 2018, Kim endowed $7 million toward the Michael B. Kim Associate Professorship for Asian business leadership at Harvard Business School.

In August 2021, Kim pledged KRW30 billion ($27 million) to the Seoul Metropolitan Government to build a public library in Seoul, Korea. Mayor Oh Se-hoon announced Seoul will honor the gift by naming the library after the donor, The Seoul Public Kim ByungJu Library. The gift is reported to represent the first-ever donation by an individual for the construction of a civic institution in Seoul.

In September 2022, Kim donated $10 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The museum will name a gallery after Kim and his wife, the Michael B. Kim and Kyung Ah Park gallery. This will be the first gallery in the museum to be named after a person of Korean descent.

Kim is married to Park Kyung-ah, the daughter of the late South Korean Prime Minister Park Tae-joon. Park also founded POSCO, the largest steel company in South Korea. They have two children.

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