KAIST (which, like the SAT, officially means nothing, but at one point meant the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) was originally proposed as part of a US Agency for International Development mission back in 1970. That committee was chaired by Frederick Terman, Stanford's former provost and the "father" of Silicon Valley. It was charged with developing a plan for creating a university-industry hub that would spur Korea's knowledge industries and assist the country in its economic development plan.
For those interested, the full report has been posted by Robert Laughlin, a professor of physics at Stanford and a former president of KAIST. Below, you can see part of the influence on Terman on the school in the form of the lecture hall named in his honor. (Rumor has it that there is a statue of him on campus, but alas, I have not yet found it despite repeated attempts to do so).
Posted on October 25, 2011