Sung-Mo “Steve” Kang is the 15th president of KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology), Daejeon, Republic of Korea since February, 2013.
Kang has been a leader in higher education and public service for nearly two decades and has served as chancellor of the University of California, Merced (March, 2007 – June 2011), dean of Jack Baskin School of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz (January 2001- February 2007), and department head of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) (August 1995 - December 2000).
At UC Merced, the youngest 10th campus of the UC system, he has led the development of a nascent campus which opened in 2005, including the historic environmental permit for nearly 900 acres of land and the medical education program. The campus underwent a significant growth in both undergraduate and graduate programs, and research programs with almost a quadrupled enrollment growth, despite a very severe budget shortfall.
At UC Santa Cruz (UCSC), Kang has laid a strong foundation for interdisciplinary programs in IT, BT and NT and has helped establish a University Affiliated Research Center with the NASA Ames Research Center with a sponsorship of three hundred million dollars over ten years. During this period Kang also served as president of the Silicon Valley Engineering Council and strengthened the UCSC research collaborations with high tech companies in Silicon Valley.
At UIUC, Kang has taught and researched on computer-aided design of CMOS very large scale integrated (VLSI) circuits and systems, optoelectronic integrated circuits, and VLSI reliability. Prior to joining the faculty of UIUC, Kang had done VLSI research and led the development of the world’s premier CMOS 32-bit microprocessors at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey for nearly a decade and also taught in the department of electrical engineering at Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey. From 1982 to 1985 Kang was a technical supervisor of the high-end microprocessor group.
As a leader, Kang firmly believes in servant leadership and practiced both in industry and academia. Kang has advocated a motto, “Where there is a will with a heart, there is a better way.”
Kang has guided nearly sixty former Ph.D. students who are now active in industry and academia in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Kang holds 16 U.S. patents, and has published over 450 papers in journals and premier conferences. In recognition of his contributions, Kang was elected to be a fellow of IEEE, ACM, and AAAS, a member of the Korea Academy of Science and Technology, and a foreign member of the National Academy of Engineering, Korea. Kang is also a member of the California Council on Science and Technology.
Kang has received many awards, including the IEEE Millennium Medal, IEEE CAS Mac Van Valkenburg Society Award, IEEE CAS Society Technical Excellence Award, SRC Technical Excellence Award, ISQED Quality Award, Alexander von Humboldt Award for US Senior Scientists, IEEE Sydney Darlington Best Journal Paper Award, KBS Award, Korean-American Leadership Award, Chang-Lin Tien Education Leadership Award, KAST Deok-Myeong Engineering Award, and distinguished alumni awards from Yonsei University, UC Berkeley, and was inducted into the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame and the Pinnacle Society of Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Sung-Mo “Steve” Kang is married to Myoung A “Mia” Kang who fully supports his servant leadership. They have a daughter Jennifer and a son Jeffrey, who live in the U.S.