Keith Soon Kim
Class of '62 Mathematics
Retired Executive VP - Corporate Quality
Samsung Electronics Co
President, Nam Yong Foundation
Born in Korea, Keith Soon Kim escaped the threat
of communism and made his way to California. He
graduated in 1962 with a bachelor’s of science in
mathematics, continuing his graduate studies at
UCLA in electronic engineering.
"The educational and campus life experiences
I had as a student at Cal Poly Pomona are some of
the most memorable in my life," he says. "I made
lifelong friendships and developed a solid educational
foundation for my life's work. Cal Poly Pomona is in my heart."
Although he was not fluent in English, Kim quickly found his way into the social and
intellectual mainstream of the campus. His on-campus employment may seem menial compared
to his later heights in the electronics industry, but he enjoyed being a student assistant
and, a janitor, noting that satisfaction is an important companion to hard work.
Kim was the founding president of the International Student Club and chaired the first
ever international program, Korean Night, in 1961, when he was named Cal Poly Pomona's
Personality of the Year. A member of the Men's Glee Club, Kim was a soloist at baccalaureate
services for three years. Upon graduation, he began working as a digital computer
design engineer for National Cash Register. Eight years later, Kim began a 30-year career
with Xerox Corporation, advancing from the position of project manager to manager of reliability.
Just prior to his retirement from Xerox, he was actively recruited by Samsung
Electronics Co. in Korea. He worked for Samsung for five years, retiring as executive vice
president of corporate quality.
"I strongly encourage current students to become leaders and learners in everything
they choose to do," says Kim. "Always strive for excellence and set high expectations —
especially in the areas of science, engineering and technology.”
During the last 35 years, Kim has been recognized and awarded by various local organizations,
community groups, states and federal governments for his immeasurable contributions
and achievements as a community leader. He is a member of the Cal Poly Pomona
University Educational Trust and the President's Council, for which he and his father have
funded a perpetual merit-based scholarship. Kim and his wife, Sung Ja, have three children:
Marian (Elementary School Principal), Robert (Engineer) and Joanne (Orthopedic Surgeon).