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Sam Kim

KIM’S LEADERSHIP DRIVING FORCE AT CU DENVER

To say Sam Kim is a busy man is an understatement. He is currently the Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Success and Student Life during the day, a PhD student at night, and, on top of that, a family man.

Kim is dedicated to the students of CU Denver. He has spent the last 12 years in higher education, starting at University of Northern Colorado, before coming to CU Denver in 2010.

“Whatever I can do for students who share my similar experience is near and dear to me.”

—Sam Kim

Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Success and Student Life

In his six years here, he has gone from being the director at Educational Opportunity Programs for Asian Student Services, to the Orientation director, to the Lynx Center director. In 2014, Kim was appointed to be the Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Success and Student Life.

“I’ve been very blessed and fortunate to have received these opportunities,” Kim said.

Born in Seoul, Korea, Kim, his parents, and grandparents immigrated to the United States in 1984. He is the oldest of six siblings and is a first-generation college student. He wants students like himself to have access to education despite what country they were born in.

“The system in itself of education is very much a privilege, and that is unfortunate,” Kim said. “I wish we could give it free to anybody who wanted to learn, and whatever I can do for students who share my similar experience is near and dear to me.”

Not only does Kim work for CU Denver, he is a student here as well. “I am working on my doctorate in Education in our wonderful School of Education and Development,” Kim said. “I’m in the dissertation phase —fingers crossed I will graduate sometime this year.”

Kim is a lifelong student and feels that helps him stay better connected to the student body. “I haven’t stopped taking classes since I started in 1999,” Kim said. “I think that has been critical, not in my own development, but for me to be in it with the students. I have a small understanding of what students are going through in the classroom that has always kept me really fresh, versus being stale and outdated. That lens has kept me in tune with what the students are looking for and the barriers that students are experiencing.”

After years of academia, there’s no clear end in sight for Kim. “Even after I graduate with my doctorate, I will probably still continue taking some sort of learning classes, not just for my own personal development, but just to stay in tune with what the students are experiencing,” Kim said.

Family comes first for Kim and he credits his own for their endless support. “I have an awesome wife and a five-year-old daughter at home that keep me definitely grounded,” Kim said. “They are a constant reminder that there are reasons outside of work in terms of what I do. They fuel my motivation. They fill in the gaps when I feel there is a void. When I’ve had a rough day, they are my two anchor pieces.”

—Morgan Mackey

Above:  Sam Kim is dedicated to CU Denver and student success.

photo: Sarai Nissan • CU Denver Sentry

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