Remembering Professor Joseph Ha, 1936 - 2011
Born in Korea and placed in an orphanage at a young age, Dr. Joseph Man-Kyung Ha came to the United States to pursue his education with the support of Christian missionaries and through awarded scholarships from the Korean government. 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 a BA 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. He particularly championed female students from around the world, giving them the extra help that so often went to male students. Former Lewis & Clark President Jack Howard wrote that Joe Ha was “a rare jewel… No member of the faculty was ever more dedicated to his students as he assisted them to find and gain admission to the best graduate schools in the country. Professor Ha recruited stellar faculty, shaped the curriculum, and built a network of global scholars and leaders that continues to enrich the lives of our students, faculty, and alumni.”
After retiring from Lewis & Clark, Joe joined Nike as the Vice President of International Business and Government Relations. 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.
Throughout his career, Joe received numerous global, local, and national civic and government awards and recognitions. He received several honorary doctorates from global universities in Russia, China, Korea, and Japan. He was on the board for many charities and businesses (Holt International, Mercy Corps, Nike, etc.). He was a valued government consultant for many U.S., Korean and other major businesses (Nike, Hyundai, etc.) to enable global expansion. He was an invited representative to many global economic conferences and forums, such as Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC), and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He also served as a consultant on Russia, China, North Korea government relations. He was a lifetime board member of Holt International, the adoption and family advocacy organization. He was also active in civic affairs and helped to develop Portland’s sister city relationships with Khabarovsk, Russia, Ulsan, and South Korea and Suzhou, China.
Joe is survived by his daughter, Karen Chi, her husband, Willard, a graduate of Lewis & Clark Law School, and their three daughters.
Lewis & Clark established the Joseph M. Ha Professorship in International Affairs in recognition of Joe’s leadership in developing Lewis & Clark’s international affairs department, his record of transformational teaching, and his advancement of cross-cultural understanding.