This is Richard Park.
Richard is an Assistant Professor of Theology and Ethics at Vanguard University and was hired in January 2017.
His parents, Brian and Soo, were born in South Korea and immigrated to the United States in 1974. Like many East Asian immigrants before them, they moved in search of greater opportunities for their children. Richard's older sisters, Gina and Jennifer, who are twins, also accompanied their parents on the way over when they were young. Today, they are currently working and married. Gina is an acupuncturist and Jennifer helps cater baked goods at corporate events.
Unlike his older sisters, Richard was born stateside in Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. After a few years, his family would eventually settle in Cerritos, California. Growing up, Brian, Richard's Dad, was bi-vocational. Brian would start a small driving school and would teach during the day and preach at a Mormon church at night. At this time, Richard's family were devout Mormons. His mom, Soo, was also working for the driving academy doing administrative work as a secretary so it was a small family business.
Soo was also involved with the local neighborhood where she would later come to know Christ through a friend. A couple of weeks after, Brian would follow his wife's footsteps and devote his life to Christ. Richard recalls his Dad driving by a Saturday night church rally, stopping by and hearing a hymn for the first time and being struck by the lyrics. Shortly after, Richard and his sisters would follow in the faith of their parents.
Growing up, Richard was active in varsity volleyball where he played as a setter and outside hitter for Cerritos High School. He was also involved in the associated student body where he was elected Freshman Vice President and Commissioner of Athletics in his later years.
After high school, Richard would move north to attend the University of California - Berkeley where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 1997. He looks back describing his formative years, " At the time, Cerritos was kind of an upper-middle-class environment and I was primarily surrounded by a Christian community," he continues, "But when I went to college, a lot of what I've known and seen was different; my professors did not believe the concept of God was real. There were a lot of homeless people in the inner city but at the same time there was a lot neighboring wealth next to low-income houses and it was eye-opening." Richard describes this experience as a time where he questioned fairness in the world and the inherent values that people have. This would eventually lead to his passion for philosophical and biblical studies.
At the beginning of his career, Richard worked at his alma mater, Cerritos High School, as a teacher and coach for five years before applying to Biola University for his master's degree. One day at Cerritos High, the Christian club on campus was hosting a pastor who spoke and encouraged students and staff to do what God has called them to do which is where Richard had decided that he wanted to pursue grad school. In 2005 - 2007, Richard attended Biola University in La Mirada and graduated with a Master's in Theology and Philosophy. He also worked at Biola teaching philosophy as an adjunct professor for three years.
In 2008, Richard's parents had some family friends from their small Korean church in Norwalk . They had a daughter named Christine, who was going to grad school at UCLA, in who they thought Richard would be interested. Richard agreed to initially exchange email addresses with her and they would go on their first date at the now-closed seafood and steakhouse, Chart House in Newport Beach. They eventually dated for two years and got married in Orange of 2010.
After getting married, and being influenced by American History and the West, Richard decided that he wanted to pursue a further degree abroad to grow as a professor. In 2010, Richard applied to Oxford University where he completed his dissertation in four years and live with his newly wedded wife, Christina, in the graduate student housing in England. A couple of years later, Richard moved to Irvine, California, where he would start his nonprofit organization known as The Rennaissance Group, which helps people find their life's calling through workshops, guest speakers and coaching services. The group's main effort is to influence culture biblically in hopes to impact the greater society. Richard half-heartedly jokes, " For example, Kanye West's newest album, Jesus is King, is spreading the gospel all around the world, which is so great" he continues, " It just goes to show how people can help influence society in this positive way." Richard has spoken all over the world including Australia, England, Hong Kong, Philippines and throughout the United States.
Through an outing with the Renaissance Group, Richard went to a speaking engagement at USC where he literally bumped into President Beals during a meet and greet and had the chance to connect which eventually led to his employment at VU in January of 2017 as an Assitant Professor of Theology and Ethics. Outside of work, Richard enjoys spending time with his wife who is currently pregnant with their first baby boy.
Vanguard University is very thankful for Richard's heart for teaching and his love for serving the Lord.
- university news