Spring/Summer 2018

Jan Kang, ’87: An Alumna’s Simple Thank You

Jan Kang smiling
Jan Kang, ’87

Jan Kang, ’87, is a lawyer from a family of doctors and scientists. When her mother came to visit during the spring of her junior year at college, she reminded Kang that it wasn’t too late for her to complete her pre-med requirements. 

“She didn’t know that it actually was,” says Kang. “I had only taken one science course, Biology for Humanists. My decision was a bit of a rebellion, but law is a much better path for me than the sciences. I love what I do, and it’s all thanks to my Michigan Law degree.”

Kang is chief legal officer of Chronicle, a startup dedicated to fighting cybercrime. Located in the Bay Area, Chronicle is a stand-alone company under the Alphabet umbrella, which also is the parent company of Google. 

“It’s an amazing environment on the cutting edge,” says Kang. “It’s the things you dream about.” Beyond the stimulating work, Kang, a longtime supporter of the Law School Fund, also appreciates Alphabet’s dedication to giving back to the community and providing vehicles for employees to be philanthropic. 

“I take full advantage,” she says. “I’ve been giving to the Law School for a long time now, and it’s nice knowing that part of what I give is matched by my employer, increasing the impact.”

Kang attended Michigan Law with her parents’ financial support, who placed premier importance on her education. Her father—a full-time researcher and professor—went back to school in his 40s and received board certification to moonlight in the emergency room to afford her tuition. 

“I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but I think about it a lot now,” says Kang. “I could not have taken a second, extremely demanding job in my 40s, and the fact that he was willing to do that to pay for my tuition is amazing. I was very lucky that my parents supported me, so I’m doing my part now by helping those students who need similar support.”

She frequently makes outright gifts to the Law School, including her Reunion pledge every five years and her support of the Douglas Kahn Professorship. She also has made a gift to the Law School Fund nearly every month since her graduation. 

“It’s simple, and I don’t have to think about it. It’s less daunting than making a large outright gift, but it adds up to something significant over time,” she says. “I’m not close enough to the Law School to say where the greatest need is, so I give to the Law School Fund because I trust the people who are running the School to identify that need and apply my gifts accordingly.”

Philanthropy is part of Kang’s fabric. Her parents, Korean immigrants, raised her to give back to the community, so she gives to the institution to which she says she owes everything. 

“I started at a prominent law firm. I went overseas to work in one of the premier firms in Seoul, came back, and found an in-house position at a large tech company. This was in large part because I had a degree from a well-respected law school. The reason I am able to give, that I am able to make a life for myself, is because of the education I received here. I give back to say thank you for the doors Michigan Law opened for me and for providing me with a strong community and a built-in network no matter where I go.”—JP