Next week Maryland’s First Lady Yumi Hogan will be awarded the highest civilian honor of the Republic of Korea.
The First Lady was born in South Korea in 1959 and immigrated to the U.S. more than four decades ago. She will receive the Order of Civil Merit on Tuesday, November 24 at a ceremony at the Republic of Korea’s Embassy in Washington, D.C. More specifically, the First Lady will receive a Camellia (Dongbaek) Medal, which is the third class of the Order of Civil Merit.
The award is for her work bolstering U.S.-Korean relations and her outreach to the Korean-American community in Maryland. Earlier this year, Yumi Hogan secured 500,000 coronavirus testing kits for Maryland from South Korea. About 70% of the kits have already been used. Mrs. Hogan is the first Korean-American to serve as First Lady of a U.S. state.
The First Lady and Gov. Larry Hogan celebrated the news of the coming honor, which came on Thursday.
“As a first-generation Korean American and the first Korean American First Lady of any state, I have made it my mission to bring different generations of Korean Americans together, to connect Korea and Maryland, and to promote the value and beauty of Korean culture and heritage,” Mrs. Hogan said in a statement. “Our success is thanks to the many Korean Americans in Maryland who have kept our community’s legacy alive, and our partners in Korea who share special friendships with our state.”
“In Maryland, we are proud to have a special bond with Korea, and that is due in large part to the passion and dedication of my wonderful wife, Yumi,” the governor said in a statement. “She is a strong voice for the Korean American community, and thanks to her leadership, increasing engagement with the Republic of Korea has been a key effort of our administration.”
About 50,000 Korean-Americans live in Maryland, making up about 0.8% of the state’s population.
Other states with significant Korean-American populations include California, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Texas, Washington, Illinois and Pennsylvania.