“My father was my number one mentor.”
President Yoon Seok-yeol said in an interview with the Power of the People’s Government Change Accompanied Committee during his candidacy in February of last year, just before the presidential election, that “My father’s lifelong interest was polarization and the gap between the rich and the poor.” A government official who is well aware of the father-son relationship between Professor Emeritus Yoon Ki-joong of Yonsei University and President Yoon, who passed away on the 15th, said, “Professor Yoon was like President 메이저놀이터Yoon’s spiritual pillar. His interest in philosophy also came from his father’s intellectual soil.”
Professor Yoon gave his children an education that was not bound by ideology while showing his principled attitude as a scholar. The case in which Professor Yoon directly read the poet Kim Ji-ha’s ‘Five Jeok’ published in the monthly ‘Sasanggye’ to President Yoon, who was a student, is imprinted in President Yoon’s mind.
The deceased was a strict father as a fundamentalist. He is said to have hit President Yoon on the buttock with a rubber hose after he came home drunk on the back of a friend. There is also a story that President Yoon was kicked by Professor Yoon in his first year of high school and could not go to school the next day.
At the same time, Professor Yoon was also good at drinking when he was young, so when a meeting was held at home where he cared for his fellow professors, he would call President Yoon to encourage him and make him sing. During this time, President Yoon formed his inner self by watching the discourse of orthodox domestic economists.
It was also the father’s influence that the book that had a great influence on the formation of President Yoon’s values became ‘Freedom of Choice’ by liberal economist Milton Friedman. It is known that Professor Yoon gave this book as a gift to President Yoon when he entered Seoul National University Law School in 1979. It is also evaluated as forming the emotional basis of President Yoon’s inauguration address as Prosecutor General. It is said that he sought advice from his father in the 2013 Park Geun-hye government’s National Intelligence Service comment incident, the country’s situation after taking office as prosecutor general in 2019, and the phase of running for the presidential election.
In a congratulatory speech at the graduation ceremony at Yonsei University after his inauguration, President Yoon said, “In his father’s lab, he did homework and solved math problems. On the beautiful campus, he was sometimes immersed in worries and contemplation.”
Spokesman Lee Do-woon of the Presidential Office said, “The last thing his father said to President Yoon when he was conscious was, ‘Thank you for growing up well.’”
Born in Gongju, South Chungcheong Province, Professor Yoon is regarded as a scholar who led the development of theories in domestic economics and laid the foundation for the field of economic statistics. He graduated from the Department of Economics at Yonsei University in 1956 and received a master’s degree from Yonsei University Graduate School. In 1967, he was selected as the first government scholarship student of the Ministry of Education of Japan and studied economics at Hitotsubashi University Graduate School. He nurtured younger students by writing general textbooks such as Statistics (1965) and Mathematical Statistics (1974). Since 1968, he has been a professor at the Department of Applied Statistics at Yonsei University, and has served as the president of Korea Statistics and the president of Korea Economics.