Professor W. Jean Kwon, Ph.D. loves New York.
There’s good reason why the Korean-born chairman of St. John’s
University’s School of Risk
Management has such an affinity for the Big Apple: “I have
never seen another city with this many insurance companies in one
location. Not Philadelphia, not Boston…not even London,” says Dr.
Kwon, who has more than 30 years of experience teaching risk
management and insurance in the U. S. and abroad.
“We have a long history and very strong ties to the industry,” he
says of the School which was originally founded by The Insurance
Society of New York in 1901 and merged with St. John’s in 2001.
“Every insurance company in New York has graduates of this school.
The opportunity for networking is very strong.” As a result, Kwon
has observed that graduates of the School of Risk Management, a
division of The
Peter J. Tobin College of Business, quickly find jobs upon
Each summer, Kwon lectures overseas where he often must work to
change the mindset of students to encourage them to ask questions
in class. It’s a problem he doesn’t encounter in New York City at
St. John’s, since in his experience, “St. John’s students are
metropolitan, diverse and very outgoing.”
An alumnus of St. John’s, Dr. Kwon can often be found among current
students in one of his favorite Manhattan campus destinations, the
famed Kathryn and Shelby Cullom
Davis Library. “The library here is the best one,” he
proclaims, and with good reason. With more than 220,000 volumes —
some dating back to 1569 — The Davis Library houses the largest
risk management and insurance collection in the world. Not
surprisingly, the library is a vital resource for students, faculty
members and professionals throughout the region.
As chairman of the department, Dr. Kwon is ultimately responsible
for ensuring that graduates of the esteemed program are
well-prepared to meet the needs of an ever-changing industry. “My
students are my investment,” he says. “We’re focusing on helping
students build a strong foundation…so that when they enter the job
market or move to another company, the move isn’t such
“For the faculty, the real challenge is keeping ahead of the
developments in the industry. In the 1990s, we were talking about
insurance matters taking place within the insurance industry. These
days, we talk about insurance matters within the financial services
sector, too. We’re constantly revising our syllabi and curricula to
keep in line with the changes in the local and global
Active in the field outside of the classroom, Dr. Kwon’s is
especially proud of two major accomplishments: the establishment of
the Asia-Pacific Risk and Insurance Association (APRIA) in 1997 and
the creation of the World Risk and Insurance Economics Congress
(WRIEC), a once-in-five year academic forum. He has also written
several books, including Risk Management and Insurance:
Perspectives in a Global Economy, which he co-authored with
Harold D. Skipper. The book is currently used by professors in 15
countries. He also offers consulting services and special lectures
for governments, as well as other public and private entities in
the U.S. and abroad.
For more information on The School of Risk Management, contact
Professor Kwon at: email@example.com