Joseph Musser, Helen Whitelaw Jackson University Professor and Benjamin F. & Margaret Cessna Professor Emeritus of English, and an organist, performed his own composition, “Namdaemoon Celebration,” in Seoul, South Korea, in June 2015, to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the Namdaemoon Presbyterian Church.
The church traces its founding to a small service held by medical missionary Dr. Horace Allen, Class of 1881, and his wife Frances Ann Messenger of Huron, OH, in 1885 in their home in Korea. Allen’s contributions advanced Western medicine in the country and helped establish the first hospital and medical school in the Chosŏn region.
Rebuilt in 1904 with a major contribution from Louis H. Severance of Cleveland, the hospital became known as Severance Hospital and the medical school as the Severance Medical School. Today the hospital is considered one of the top medical facilities in Asia, and Allen went on to serve the first American ambassador to Korea.
To mark the anniversary, Musser incorporated into his composition American and Korean folk tunes to symbolize both cultures’ confluence in Allen’s life and work, as well as the continuing relationship between the Namdaemoon Presbyterian Church and the First Presbyterian Church of Delaware.
Louise Musser, emeritus professor of education and associate dean of academic affairs, read a congratulatory letter from President Rock Jones written on behalf of Ohio Wesleyan.