Education: Michigan State University B.S. chemical engineering, 1960; University of California, Berkley Ph.D., 1964
Birthplace: South Korea
Michigan Impact: Entrepreneur and distinguished MSU alumnus
Born in South Korea, Joon S. Moon began his college career at the renowned Seoul National University, before learning English from an American soldier and MSU alumnus. The alumnus helped Joon apply to MSU and in 1959, he transferred.
Joon graduated from MSU in 1960 with a B.S. in chemical engineering and earned his Ph.D. at Berkley in 1964. He met his wife Zaiga Kuze, an immigrant from Latvia, at Michigan State, where she was enrolled in the Honors College concentrating in Political Science and then went on to receive an advanced degree from Stanford University.
Joon’s career led him to DuPont and Celanese Corporations and his work took him from New Jersey to Korea to Mexico City. But in 1969, instead of moving to New York City, he moved to Williamston, Michigan. His plan was to start his own company and to work for himself. He purchased a manufacturing company in Howell, Michigan. Working in the consumer products, plastics and swimming pool industries, Joon bought and sold many companies in his career. He now owns and operates the Michigan-based Rooto Corp. and California-based Star Pacific Inc.
He also supports and encourages future talent. In 1991 he established the Joon S. Moon Distinguished International Alumni Award, which recognizes international alumni who have brought special credit to MSU through their professional achievements. It is an award Joon received in 2006 for his work over an illustrious career.
The University Research Corridor showcases Michigan’s world class universities, economic competitiveness, and scientific breakthroughs being made every day in our state. This innovative partnership is creating jobs, fostering relationships with all types of businesses, from our largest corporations to smallest entrepreneurial businesses, and driving innovation in all sectors of our economy.
I think certainly there has been an uptick in entrepreneurship in the state, and I think a lot of that is owed to the URC getting more involved in economic development in the last 10 years.
The URC is an incredible asset for our industry, state, and citizens in terms of the scale of R&D conducted at its universities in critically important areas. Medical and healthcare discoveries with the potential to improve and save lives position Michigan as a top state for innovation in the life, medical and health sciences.