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In Memoriam: Sung Wan Kim


Dr. Sung Wan Kim

Salt Lake City, UT-Dr. Sung Wan Kim, 79, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family and friends on Monday, February 24, 2020 at the University of Utah Medical Center. Born on August 21, 1940 in Busan, South Korea, Dr. Kim is survived by his loving wife Hee Kyung, son Alex, daughter-in-law Catherine, daughter Kara, son in-law Brian, and 4 grandchildren. Dr. Kim, Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, as well as Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Utah, is known as a pioneer in the world of pharmaceutics. Despite being surrounded by poverty and the difficulties of the Korean War, he followed the advice of his mother to seek a career in chemistry and enrolled at Seoul National University where he received his B.S. in chemistry and M.S. in physical chemistry in 1963 and 1965, respectively.
In 1966, he left South Korea to pursue his dreams and embarked on research at the University of Utah under Dr. Henry Eyring. After Dr. Kim received his Ph.D. in 1969, Dr. Eyring introduced him to Dr. Willem Johan Kolff, who guided him in the direction of the groundbreaking fields of biomaterials and medicinal chemistry. Since 1974, Dr. Kim has published more than 500 papers, trained 130 students and postdocs, and he has been a pillar in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Utah. Dr. Kim holds 38 patents and has generated more than $30 million in research funds. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 1999 and the National Academy of Engineering in 2003. He has received numerous awards including the Research Achievement Award-Pharmaceutical Sciences World Conference, The University of Utah's Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence, and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Dale Wurster Award. As founder of three biotech companies, Dr. Kim was also proud of the work he did to develop technologies that would ultimately improve the lives of people across the globe. A generous philanthropist, Dr. Kim supported various organizations including academic institutions and medical centers.
He enjoyed golf and travel, but what mattered to him most was forming strong relationships and supporting those around him. Dr. Kim influenced countless people as a teacher, advisor, collaborator, friend, father, grandparent, and husband. His incredible energy and remarkable legacy will continue to inspire all who had the privilege to know him. Funeral services will be held on Sunday, March 1, 2020 at Wasatch Lawn Memorial (3401 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah) where Dr. Kim will be put to rest. A viewing will be held from 1:30-3:00pm, followed by a short funeral service at 3:00pm. Dr. Kim's family is planning a memorial to celebrate his life in the summer and will notify friends and colleagues around the world as details become available.
Last Updated: 6/3/21