Connecticut College Magazine · Spring 2006

Features:

Kim-Toy Reynolds Huh ´77

Nancy Farwell ´73

Camel kindness

Chris Hensman ´03



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Changing course: CC students talk about why they transferred here

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Kim-Toy Reynolds Huh ´77

Kim-Toy Reynolds Huh ´77
Huh in Cambridge, England, last April.

Alumni board member balances careers as lawyer and police officer

By Julie Novak


At the stroke of midnight Kim-Toy Reynolds Huh ´77 begins her patrol of the streets of Chicago as a lieutenant with the city´s police department.

Eight hours later, she´s off to run her own law practice specializing in real estate, naturalization and immigration issues.

Like a superhero with a secret identity, Huh balances both careers with ease — she sleeps in the afternoons.

“Sometimes when I´m working I never see the light of day,” she says.

With fluency in Mandarin Chinese and a natural desire to communicate and protect people from all over the world, Huh is considered one of the department´s “best and brightest” by Superintendent Phil Cline. Supervising 35 officers on each shift, she strives to keep them out of harm´s way, whether it´s a reminder to fasten their seatbelts or a vote of confidence in their ability to do their best.

“As a supervisor, it´s my responsibility to guide and lead my officers as well as appreciate what they do,” Huh says. “For every time I admonish someone, I make sure to praise them three times.”

Huh, a widowed mother of two, works on team-building with her officers on and off the clock, treating them like family. She hosts breakfasts at her condo and is known for preparing an annual Thanksgiving feast to bring her team together.

“Each of us is responsible for each other´s lives everyday, and I want officers to know one another and take care of each other,” she says.

“She is well-respected by the officers that work for her,” says Cline, who first met Huh in 1985, three years after she joined the force. Her fluency in Mandarin enabled her to work on crime prevention in Chinatown for her first 13 years with the department. Her fascination with Eastern culture, which admittedly came from a love of Bruce Lee martial arts films, deepened at CC in Charles Chu´s Mandarin Chinese classes. She discovered her love of language as a child during a cruise to the Caribbean with her parents. The crew members were from Greece, Italy, France, Spain, China and Japan and all spoke in their native tongue.

“I was just mesmerized by communication,” Huh says, adding that she speaks some Spanish and German and can say ´I love you´ in 20 different languages. “I wanted to be able to communicate with people all over the world. I have a knack for conversation.” So it makes sense that one of her work-study jobs on campus was acting as the switchboard operator and greeting callers with, “Good afternoon, Connecticut College.”

Huh continues to serve CC as a volunteer. She is a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, class president, class correspondent and class agent chair. At CC, she was one of only 25 African-American students and is pleased to see the growth in diversity on campus, three decades later.

“CC has really worked on that image and opened the school to make it more welcoming to everyone,” she says.

Following graduation, Huh felt ready to “conquer the world.” She lived and worked in China for five years using her language skills as a translator and teacher before returning to the States and taking on a career in law enforcement. It wasn´t until 1990 that she decided to pursue a law degree at Chicago-Kent College of Law. She received a J.D. with an international and comparative law certificate and launched her practice in which a third of her clients speak Chinese. She serves as an administrative law judge two days a week for unemployment hearings and administers real estate closings.

Over the years, Huh has met many challenges. She is proud of her work and of her sons Ming-Tai, a graduate from MIT, and Marcus, a pharmacy student at Florida A&M.

The hardest part of her dual career is working after midnight, but Huh says she´s not about to give up something she loves.

“We all have something to offer, and sometimes it´s just being yourself.”


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