Volunteer Spotlight

Jun Il Kwun on Advancing Technology Development at UT Southwestern

Investor leads President’s Advisory Board’s efforts to support innovation across the Medical Center

Not wanting to give away their advantage, investors tend to keep their reasons for picking companies a closely held secret.

But when it came to his involvement with UT Southwestern Medical Center, private equity investor Jun Il Kwun saw nothing but upside – and an opportunity to add his strengths to the North Texas leader in health care education, research, and patient care.

Jun Il Kwun and family
Jun Il Kwun, right, with his family Provided by Jun Il Kwun

Mr. Kwun is one of the newest members of the President’s Advisory Board – a diverse group of civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders providing UT Southwestern President Daniel K. Podolsky, M.D., and the institution’s leadership with guidance on opportunities and challenges facing the Medical Center.

In his first year with the organization, he hit the ground running, launching the organization’s Technology Development Committee, which he leads. The group is actively developing a fund to invest in technology across UT Southwestern.

His driven approach to leadership is threaded throughout Mr. Kwun’s resume. A former Managing Director and Senior Advisor of The Carlyle Group, he led the multinational company’s telecom, media, and technology investments division for the Asia-Pacific region. A graduate of Exeter, Harvard College, Johns Hopkins University, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Kwun began his career with Goldman Sachs’ Investment Banking Division in Hong Kong and New York. In 2009, he co-founded Actium Group in South Korea and currently oversees Actium's investment operations in North America and Europe.

Reflecting on his involvement with the President’s Advisory Board, Mr. Kwun shared how he admires UT Southwestern’s advances in technology, research, and clinical care.

How has UT Southwestern impacted you and your family?

As a parent, I am most grateful for UT Southwestern’s contributions to our children and their future. The work of Dr. Brad Cutrell and his team in keeping our schools and playing fields open safely since March 2020 has been a great blessing for our family and our community.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson speaks as Dr. James
UT Southwestern Associate Professor of Internal Medicine James "Brad" Cutrell, M.D., listens as Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson encourages COVID-19 vaccinations during a January 7, 2021, event at UT Southwestern. Mei-Chun Jau/UT Southwestern Medical Center

What distinguishes this institution as a leader in academic medicine?

UT Southwestern is located in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the fourth largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States today and the fastest-growing U.S. city over the last decade. It is also among the most diverse cities in the world. Because of this, UT Southwestern has been able to attract the best people from every sector and is developing the clinicians, educators, and researchers who will lead us through what some have called the Golden Age of Medicine and the Century of Biology.

What do you find most engaging about the President's Advisory Board?

The most engaging part of my involvement is working with the UT Southwestern Technology Development Team to support the brilliant researchers at UT Southwestern. We have seen first-hand the discoveries that are birthed at UT Southwestern, and it has been exciting to see the institution’s leadership nurture these innovations into powerful commercial companies.

What have you learned about UT Southwestern?

The most surprising thing has been seeing the depth of talent across every important area of life sciences at UT Southwestern. Realizing the complementary talent working at UT Dallas, Dr. Podolsky has driven a visionary integration of the strengths of these two institutions. As a result, groundbreaking research is being done in areas such as bioelectronics, bioinformatics, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence.

“UT Southwestern embodies the qualities that make Dallas a city of the future…”

What has been your most memorable volunteer experience?

The most memorable volunteer experience was serving as a judge at the recent UT Southwestern Pitch Competition, where faculty, staff, and students could get professional guidance on startup ideas. It was a privilege to see the incredible work from the labs of Dr. Xun Jia, Dr. Jacques Lux, Dr. Elizabeth Martinez, Dr. Jared Ostmeyer, and Dr. Ganesh Raj as well as researchers at UT Dallas. The scope, originality, and ambition of their work are breathtaking. There is no doubt that they will save lives and change the world in the years ahead.

As a donor, why do you continue to give?

UT Southwestern embodies the qualities that make Dallas the city of the future – commitment to excellence; primacy of truth and common sense; generosity of spirit; and openness to all people. Giving to UT Southwestern is one of the smartest investments in our shared future.

What is UT Southwestern's biggest contribution to the community?

UT Southwestern’s contributions to the community are too many to list, and every life saved is a contribution beyond measure. Some of the biggest contributions will become evident only over a backdrop of decades, and they will be the global companies formed upon discoveries made at UT Southwestern. Much as Texas Instruments and Jack Kilby launched the semiconductor revolution in Dallas in the 1950s, UT Southwestern and its researchers will create companies that will benefit the global community for decades to come.

  • Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.
  • Dr. Martinez holds the John P. Perkins, Ph.D. Distinguished Professorship in Biomedical Science.
  • Dr. Raj holds the Dr. Paul Peters Chair in Urology in Memory of Rumsey and Louis Strickland.