Jonathan Ilsong Ahn, Attorney and HCCEF Board Member
Howard Community College (HCC) Educational Foundation Board member Jonathan Ilsong Ahn has a history with the College. Twenty-five years ago, as a recent graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law, he retreated to HCC’s quiet library to prepare for the bar exam. Later, as a practicing attorney, he took physics and chemistry courses at HCC to prepare for the possibility of some patent work and also “just for fun.”
Ahn brings his worth ethic and positive spirit to both his law practice and a number of volunteer ventures, from the Korean Connecting Businesses & Marketplace to Christ (CBMC) to HCC’s Educational Foundation Board. Ahn is an avid supporter of the Silas Craft Collegians program and serves on the event committee for the annual Silas Craft Collegians Dinner at Hunan Manor restaurant. In 2019, he personally reached out to 45 of the dinner’s guests, and smilingly refers to his work as both “fundraising and friend-raising.”
Asked why he chooses to give to HCC, Ahn has several answers. First, his father was active in the community and modeled service for his children. Ahn’s Christian faith—he serves as an elder at Bethel Korean Presbyterian Church and was previously Chair of the Bethel Church board—also calls him to give to others. As one who has been blessed, Ahn wants to share what he has with both the Korean American and larger Howard County communities.
Noting education is of paramount importance in the Asian community, Ahn also cited the important role HCC plays as a bridge to higher education for many county residents. While Asian culture often places a high value on highly selective colleges, Ahn believes that this single path to a degree is not the answer for many students, who for financial, family, or other reasons need to be close to home.
“Community colleges make sure that no one is left out of higher education,” said Ahn.
Ahn added that he enjoys volunteering with HCC because of the people, from the staff to the students who benefit from its small classes and programs like Silas Craft Collegians. There’s one more reason he gives: “You give because it means something. But also, you need to find the joy. I found that at HCC.”