Korean American lawyer becomes Harvard Alumni Association head

July 2, 2015
Incoming Harvard Alumni Association President Paul L. Choi  (Courtesy of Harvard University)

Incoming Harvard Alumni Association President Paul L. Choi
(Courtesy of Harvard University)

By Jhoo Dong-chan

Korea-born American lawyer Paul L. Choi, 51, has been elected president of the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA), according to The Harvard Crimson, the university’s student newspaper.

Choi is a partner at Sidley Austin Corp., a Chicago-based law firm that specializes in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), corporate finance transactions and securities, and corporate governance matters.

He has participated in several M&A deals between global corporations, including representing First Data Corp. on its $29 billion acquisition by an investor group controlled by KKR, an American multinational private equity firm.

For the university, Choi has been an active member of Harvard Law School alumni organizations. He was president of the Harvard Club of Chicago and also a former editor of The Harvard Crimson.

Choi served as the HAA’s vice president last year and will succeed incumbent Cynthia A. Torres for a one-year term from the coming semester.

Choi said he is looking forward to working with HAA members.

“It is about the engagement of alumni back to Harvard, being a resource to students and connecting people back to the school,” Choi told The Harvard Crimson. “The alumni network is extremely diverse and stimulating.”

Choi also said he will help the university’s latest goal ― a more unified Harvard.

“When you graduate from a Harvard school you are an alum of that school but, more importantly, you are also an alum of the university,” he told The Harvard Gazette. “You may leave the campus with a diploma in hand, but you don’t leave the broader alumni community.”

Choi emigrated from Korea to the U.S. with his parents when he was 3. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1986 and a doctorate in law in 1989.