New Star Realty chairman Mun-ki Nam, known among non-Koreans as Chris, once against forked out big money for a meaningful cause.
Nam’s name recently went into the Honor Society after donating roughly $88,000 to his South Korean alma mater Konkuk University. His donation is a significant gesture for a Korean-American, as offering donations to an institution abroad does not grant tax exemption, which applies to donors who help organizations within the country.
“I’m normally a conservative spender and I like to live economically,” said Nam. “People who’ve visited my house were all surprised since it’s small and I don’t have many furniture.”
However, Nam has a big heart and enjoys helping others with his wealth.
Although Nam is famous for his success in business, he is also well known for his efforts to one day produce a Korean-American president in the U.S. While many have dreamt and even suggested such an idea, there are not many who actually put their words into action like Nam has done. Through his own New Star Scholarship Foundation, Nam has already donated $450,000 to foster an educated generation for decades to come. Up to 1,350 students over the years have been recipients of the scholarships.
Once a student becomes Nam’s scholarship recipient, they are required to abide by one rule. It stipulates that “the donation is something [the recipient] will return to help someone else in the future.” The recipients also receive a copy of Nam’s booklet, which aspires for a Korean-American U.S. president one day.
“I sometimes hear from a parent that the child has changed since receiving my scholarship,” Nam said. “That tells me that my efforts are making a difference. A Korean-American president is my dream as well as the rest of the Korean community’s. It’ll happen one day.”
Nam is best known for becoming a successful businessman after coming to the U.S. with just $300. He published a book titled “Benchmark A Successful Person’s Life” in January. Case in point, Nam’s expertise is in educating the public about winning over the hearts of consumers. He considers the success of agents at his realty his own and gives them a formal lecture on a daily basis.
In addition, Nam usually gets an average of four-hour sleep. He said he makes up for his lack of sleep by resting in spurts for about 10 minutes while he is on the road.
Regardless, Nam has run into several problems throughout his career. Last April, Nam received his third surgery to cure his liver cancer. However, he said the treatment has not been difficult. He previously went through surgeries in 2002 and 2012. He also received a liver transplant back in March 2002. To Nam, the cancer is just another obstacle he has faced in life.
“An entrepreneur never retires,” Nam said. “I’ll keep marching forward.”
By Byung Chang