Alfred Hoyun Song ’42, the first Korean-American admitted to the California Bar and to serve in the California State Legislature, has been honored by USC President C. L Max Nikias and Los Angeles leaders in Koreatown.
Nikias unveiled a 10-foot-tall steel monument in honor of Song at the Wilshire-Western subway stop, now known as the Alfred Hoyun Song Station. Song, who died in 2004, graduated from USC with a bachelor’s degree in government in 1942 and earned his law degree in 1949 and LL.M. degree in 1957 at the USC Gould School of Law.
“For Korean-Americans everywhere, Sen. Song paved the way, becoming a touchstone for dreamers and doers, for aspiring politicians and ambitious scholars,” Nikias said at the ceremony, attended by about 100 dignitaries, family and civic leaders, including Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Consul General Hon. Hyun-myung Kim, former California State Assembly member Richard Alatorre and USC Trustee Edward P. Roski, Jr.
Song’s legislative record includes the creation of the California Evidence Code, leadership on enhanced enforcement of child support, tightening of consumer protection laws, support of press freedom and improving the quality of available health care.
Debbie An, a third-year law student, said that, to her surprise, she knew little about Song when asked to participate in the ceremony.
“How could I never have known who Alfred Song was? With the body of laws he passed, with his dedication to the law and his universally acclaimed chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as a law student, I should have known his name,” she said. “As a Korean-American female attempting to pursue a career in law, Sen. Song’s accomplishments inspire me to be audacious in my own endeavors.”
At USC, Nikias said that Song’s accomplishments helped pave the way for the hundreds of Koreans and Korean-American students who are an important part of the campus fabric.
“We are home to a vibrant Korean community,” Nikias said. Song “stood as a superb role model, connecting so many in our community to Korean culture and traditions.”
The stainless steel monument serves as a testament to Song’s accomplishments. The words etched on one side of the memorial are in Korean; the other side is in English. The message is from a speech Song delivered on July 27, 1968, that in part, reads: “It is within the seeds of our restlessness that come the abilities to meet our challenges. … Do you have a place in this challenge? I think you do.”