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Benefactor Who Left Fortune to Wife's Home Country

Oct 28, 2008

In January last year, the Seoul National University Foundation received a faxed copy of a will left by Eduard Stadelmann, a resident of the U.S. state of Minnesota. When he died in September 2006 at the age of 76, Stadelmann left a US$481,000 fortune to Seoul National University and Korea University under his wife’s name, Lee Ok-young, and his own.

The sender proved to be Lee Se-young (73), emeritus professor at the College of Life Sciences and Biotechnology of Korea University. When the SNU Foundation contacted him, Lee said Stadelmann was a professor at the University of Minnesota and also his brother-in-law. He decided to leave half his money to SNU because of fond memories of the university when he was a visiting professor there for a year many years ago. The foundation was curious about the identity of Stadelmann, but nobody at the university had any idea who he was.

After a long search, the foundation learned that Kwon Young-myung (73), emeritus professor of SNU who was a bioengineering professor 30 years ago, had invited Stadelmann as a visiting academic in 1978. “Prof. Stadelmann was impressed with the SNU students, who were passionate about their studies despite dire research conditions at the time. He always wanted to do something for SNU,” Kwon recalled.

In memory of his wife Lee Ok-young, Stadelmann decided to leave half of his fortune to Korea University, where his brother-in-law had devoted his life to teaching. Lee had been a student of Stadelmann’s at the University of Minnesota. They had no children.

“My sister was always concerned about her home country when she was living in the U.S with her husband. Stadelmann also wanted to do something for Korea to make his wife happy,” said Lee Se-young. Lee Ok-young, who was a research professor at the University of Minnesota in 1978, came to SNU with her husband and taught students for free. The money left by Stadelmann will be delivered to the two universities early next month.

October 28, 2008
SNU PR Office