Institute for Corean-American Studies

James T. Laney

James T. Laney, ICAS Distinguished Fellow and Liberty Award recipient, is President Emeritus of Emory University and former United States ambassador to South Korea.

His association with Korea began in 1947 when he served there in the Army Counter-Intelligence Corps. He was educated at Yale (BA '50, BD '54, PhD '66, LHD hon '93). He is an ordained United Methodist minister. He taught at Yonsei University in Korea from 1959-64, and later at Vanderbilt before becoming dean of Candler School of Theology at Emory (1969-77). In 1974 he was visiting professor at Harvard. He was named president of Emory in 1977 and served for 16 years. During that period Emory achieved national prominence and its endowment grew ten-fold, to sixth among all colleges. In 1993 he was appointed ambassador to South Korea by President Bill Clinton and was instrumental in helping defuse the nuclear crisis with North Korea in 1994. In 1997 he returned to the US and served for two years as special presidential envoy in Asia.

He has chaired the Harvard Board of Overseers committee for the Divinity School and has served on the Executive Committee of the University Council at Yale. He is a trustee of the Henry Luce Foundation in New York and co-chair, with Andrew Young, of Faith and the City in Atlanta. He is a past director of The Coca-Cola Company and SunTrust Georgia. From 1997-2003 he co-chaired the Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on Korea.

His articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, the Washington Post and numerous other publications. He is the recipient of 22 honorary degrees from colleges and universities in the US, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, and Africa. He has received medals for distinguished service from the United States and Korea, the Wilbur Cross Medal from Yale, the Emory medal, and the General James van Fleet award from the Korea Society.

Dr. Laney is married to Berta Radford and they have five children and sixteen grandchildren. They live in Atlanta.

ICAS Web Site Links for James T. Laney:

Remarks at the 2011 Liberty Award Dinner
2011 Liberty Award Dinner
2009 Liberty Award Dinner
Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness

This page last updated 12/19/2011 jdb

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