In Memoriam: Shinae Chun (MA71)

In Memoriam: Shinae Chun (MA71)

Shinae Chun at SESP Convocation

Shinae Chun (MA71), who served as director of the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor from 2001 to 2009, died on October 15. A memorial service was held on October 22.

In 2005, the School of Education and Social Policy honored Chun with the Alumni Merit Award, which honors high achievements in a profession or field of endeavor. In 2006, Chun addressed graduates of the School of Education and Social Policy at its Convocation.

Throughout her career, Chun shaped policy in leadership roles in state and federal government. Prior to her role at the Women’s Bureau, Chun headed the Illinois Department of Labor and Illinois Department of Financial Institutions, and she was first to serve as special assistant to the governor for Asian American affairs.

As director of the Women's Bureau, she advocated for women in the workforce and implemented innovative projects. Her important initiatives included technology-driven online learning programs for women, financial education for working women and flexible workplaces. At the time of her directorship, she was the highest-ranking Korean American appointee in the President George W. Bush’s administration.

The winner of numerous awards and honors, Chun earned her undergraduate degree at Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, Korea, and her master's degree at Northwestern University. In 1992, she received a fellowship to Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government. In 2006, she received a Council of Women World Leaders Ministerial Fellowship and participated in an exchange program in Tanzania.

In her convocation speech to SESP graduates, Chun described her three most important principles for achieving success, as well as her reflections on her experience at Northwestern. According to Chun, "Success begins with core ethical values, thinking big, and surrounding oneself with good people."

Chun expanded on these cherished principles in the book she authored, You Are 99% Potential, which was published in 2009.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 1/23/14