Dr. and Mrs. Yang Ho Rhee Scholarship

RheeDr. and Mrs. Rhee were raised in Korea where education is the highest priority for a Korean family. They established the Dr. and Mrs. Yang Ho Rhee Scholarship in 2000 with the goal of honoring children of Korean heritage with educational benefits. “Education for the young people is the best thing,” said Dr. Rhee.

Dr. Rhee who was raised in Kunsan, Korea where he attended medical school and Mrs. Rhee, a nurse in Seoul, Korea met while Dr. Rhee was interning at the 7th Day Adventist Hospital where Mrs. Rhee was working. They married, settled in Chicago and in 1977 moved to the Quad City area where they raised their two children, Thomas and Karen. They have 2 grandchildren, Joshua and Elizabeth. Dr. Rhee retired in 2009 and enjoys traveling with his wife, collecting art, playing golf and reading.

The Rhee’s encouraged the value of education with their own children. Thomas graduated from the University of Iowa Medical School and Karen from Washington University School of Law. Dr. and Mrs. Rhee feel very fortunate that their children have bright futures in part due to their educational background. This motivated them to give back to the community and help others.

In the late 1990’s, Dr. Rhee learned that Korean immigrants were not doing well in this area and were struggling to find jobs. Dr. Rhee wanted to help both immigrant and adopted Korean children have educational opportunities and go to college.

During a visit with Community Foundation staff, Mrs. Rhee said, “education for kids has always been number one in my husband’s mind. And it still is today.” 

Dr. and Mrs. Rhee have found much reward in helping students pay for college. “One of the best parts of our philanthropy is meeting the scholarship recipients. It is nice to see young people and discuss their plans and hopes. And when they tell me they want to do the same thing and give back when they grow up, it’s the best feeling,” said Dr. Rhee.

The Rhee’s chose the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend because of its expertise in administering scholarship funds in a professional manner. They said the Community Foundation would also preserve their wishes to provide educational opportunities to local students of Korean heritage for years to come.

"Our fund allows us to support programs that enhance the lives of children, individuals, families and businesses."

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By 2020, the country will need 1.2 million more nurses to accommodate the aging population. The Quad Cities will need 50 new instructors to meet the needs of the local nursing students entering this field work. We are working together to fill these gaps.
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