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BU hopes to get donation from former student Psy, the South Korean rapper known for 'Gangnam Style' hit

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  October 1, 2012 04:27 PM

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Boston University plans to seek a donation from former student and South Korean rap sensation Psy for the school’s recently launched $1 billion fund-raising campaign.

This summer, 34-year-old Park Jae-sang, known to most as Psy, released the single “Gangnam Style.” The song and accompanying music video have gained rapid global popularity.

In the summer of 1996, Psy enrolled in an English language program designed for international students at BU, according to campus spokesman Colin Riley. The following spring, Psy attended the BU for a semester of undergraduate studies and is believed to have lived in university housing.

After that, he continued his studies in Boston, moving to the Berklee College of Music, which he attended for about a year and a half.

And now, “he’s taken the world by storm,” Riley said.

Scott Nichols, BU’s senior vice president for development and alumni relations, and Steven Hall, vice president for alumni relations, told the school’s news website BU Today that the university plans to reach out to Psy to ask if he is interested in contributing to what the school calls its first-ever comprehensive fund-raising campaign.

Hall told BU Today that identifying and tracking down potentially wealthy alumni “is a very scientific endeavor — who’s got the capacity to make a really big gift? We have a full-time research department that all day, every day tries to identify successful alumni, alumni of means — like PSY.”

He said the university found out about Psy’s connection to BU and his recent global fame in mid-September.

Meanwhile, Berklee officials have no plans to try to connect with Psy.

“We have no plans to specifically reach out and seek donations from Psy in particular, nor do we have anything in the works to partner with him for anything else at the moment,” Berklee spokeswoman Liz Lupton said in an e-mail. “In the meantime, we're all practicing our ‘Gangnam Style’ dance moves.”

After ending his one-semester stint at BU, Psy attended Berklee for a five-week summer performance program in 1997 and then enrolled in that school for the fall semester, Lupton said.

He continued there the following spring and summer before leaving after the fall semester of 1998.

His major was undeclared, according to Lupton. He took core curriculum courses including ear training and harmony as well as a few classes in departments like Contemporary Writing and Production and in Music Synthesis, which is now the Electronic Production and Design Department.

He did not earn a degree from either BU or Berklee, officials said.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.
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