40-Year BCC Math Professor Jason Kim, Korean American, Named Commencement Grand Marshal During Pan Asian American Heritage Month

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Professor KimThe 64th Commencement Ceremony of Bronx Community College (BCC) will be the first graduation ceremony ever attended by BCC Korean American alum, Grand Marshal and 40-year BCC math professor Jason Kim, who said he was always too tired and too poor to attend a ceremony when he was a student at BCC, followed by Queens College and Columbia.

Professor Kim – who came to the Bronx with his family from Korea at age 19 – was focused on survival. He struggled to attend BCC and learn English while working at his family’s produce store on the Grand Concourse, with a rigorous daily routine that included transporting produce from the market beginning at 3 a.m. until class time, then returning to the store to help out at lunch and in the evening.

“I remember crying a lot because my life was so hard,” Professor Kim said. “There were many times I wanted to quit. I couldn’t imagine the opportunities I would go on to have.”

But according to Kim, BCC taught him about perseverance and hard work. He ended up helping to grow the family business, buying a house and raising a family, and becoming the first Korean American to be elected City Council member on the East Coast of the United States as well as Board of Education member in Palisades Park, NJ.

“I think it resonates with students when they hear about my struggles, and it makes them realize that others have been in their shoes,” Professor Kim added.

Professor Kim has three children ages 24-28 and, not surprisingly, given his orderly mathematical mind, he nicknamed them “A,B, & C”. His first child’s name begins with an A, the second with a B, and the third with a C. “And I am married to a beautiful and kind lady who is an assistant professor at Columbia University,” Kim said.

While serving as Deputy Mayor for the Borough of Palisades Park, Professor Kim was instrumental in getting the Comfort Women monument (the first in the U.S. and perhaps the first in the world) erected in 2010, calling attention to the unspeakable war crimes against women by the Japanese Imperial Military from the 1930s through 1945. Through his work at BCC and his life beyond the classroom, Professor Kim is relentless in his passion to give back by helping others.

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