Concordia University in U.S. Marks Inauguration of Taekwondo Program
Concordia University Irvine has, it claims, become the first university outside Korea, which offers a four-year bachelor’s degree in taekwondo to its students.
The ceremony featured a taekwondo demonstration by the Korean national demonstration team, drawing a big applause from hundreds of participants.
Among the dignitaries at the ceremony were Dr. Chungwon Choue, president of the World Taekwondo Federation; Mr. Robert Ctvrtlik, a member of the International Olympic Committee; and Ms. Beth Krom, mayor of the city of Irvine.
“This new program will fill a distinctive niche of exercise and sports science, business, and is modeled after similar programs in Korea, where taekwondo is an academic discipline and profession,” said Dr. Jacob Preus, president of Concordia University Irvine, in his opening speech in the inauguration ceremony.
He continued to say, “Taekwondo at Concordia is a four-year program leading to a bachelor of arts degree with a Kukkiwon certified 4th black belt. In addition to acquiring the knowledge and the skills in taekwondo, students will be prepared to run their own business, teach and officiate in taekwondo event.”
Concordia University Irvine is part of the national Concordia University system of ten colleges and universities in the United States. In Korea, there are 22 universities and 16 colleges that offer four-year and two-year taekwondo programs, respectively.
Dr. Preus also read for the participants a congratulatory message from U.S. President George Bush.
“Concordia’s taekwondo program is especially encouraging to the global taekwondo family, as several countries, such as Iran, Venezuela and Turkey, are planning to introduce taekwondo for their respective students,” said WTF President Choue in his congratulatory address.
In February, Canada’s Chatham College International Taekwondo School opened a residential secondary-school taekwondo program for students around the world. Reflecting the rapidly growing popularity of taekwondo, two of China’s most populated provinces, Sichuan and Henan, made taekwondo a compulsory subject at their elementary schools in 2006.
“For further development of taekwondo, as an Olympic sport, I believe that we need more competent, professional leaders with international experience and knowledge,” Dr. Choue said. “In that sense, I think that Concordia University would serve that purpose well.”
During the ceremony, WTF President Choue presented a taekwondo sculpture to Dr. Preus to commemorate the inauguration of the school’s taekwondo program.
Dr. Choue also handed a plaque of appreciation to Prof. Chang-jin Kang, the taekwondo program director of Concordia University Irvine. Prof. Kang, a ninth Dan black-belt holder, started taekwondo in 1958, when he was 14 years old. He emigrated to the United States in 1978.
Dr. Choue’s speech was followed by congratulatory remarks of IOC Member Ctvrtlik, who lives nearby Concordia Univeristy Irvine, and Irvine Mayor Krom.
During a welcome dinner hosted by the Concordia University President on March 23, Dr. Choue presented a taekwondo uniform and a black belt each to four ranking school officials - Dr Preus; Dr. Shang Ik Moon, executive vice president in charge of international relations of Concordia University Irvine; Dr. Kenneth Mangeles, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences; and Dr. Vance Tammen, chair of the Division of Exercise and Sport Science.