|President Bob H. Suzuki and wife, Agnes, are honored for their 12 years of service, vision and leadership at Cal Poly Pomona during the Asian and Pacific Islander Scholarship Dinner.|
|Barkada students perform Filipino dances that include jumping over bamboo sticks and balancing on top of six-inch wide benches at the inaugural scholarship dinner.|
The university?s inaugural Asian and Pacific Islander Scholarship Dinner was a time of celebration and reflection of a cultural heritage and its community leaders. The evening included recognition of student scholarship winners, an inspirational keynote address, authentic Asian cuisine and cultural performances. In addition, it served as a tribute to President Bob H. Suzuki and wife, Agnes, for their 12 years of service, vision and leadership at Cal Poly Pomona.
Nearly 150 people attended the event on April 28 in the new Bronco Student Center Multipurpose Room. It was sponsored by the Asian Pacific Faculty, Staff and Student Association (APFSSA), the Asia and the Pacific Islands Heritage Month (APIHM) Planning Committee and the Asian and Pacific Islander Student Center (APISC).
Four Cal Poly Pomona students received scholarships sponsored by the Suzukis, APFSSA and APISC for their academic achievements and demonstration of their leadership and service to the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
The following is information on this year?s scholarship recipients:
- Sarah Oh, a senior hotel and restaurant management major and a resident of Anaheim, took home a $500 President and Mrs. Bob H. Suzuki Scholarship.
- Sanjay Mehta, a junior computer information systems major and a resident of Yorba Linda, received a $250 APFSSA Outstanding Achievement Award.
- Neil Thamawatanakul, a senior industrial engineering major and a resident of Hacienda Heights, was awarded a $250 APFSSA Outstanding Achievement Award.
- Amy Tam, a junior gender, ethnic, multicultural & integrative studies major and a resident of La Puente, took home a $250 APFSSA Leadership Award.
President Suzuki congratulated the scholarship winners and the API organizations for sponsoring their first awards dinner.
?It?s very important for organizations like this to exist to promote the interest of Asian Pacific Americans on campus,? he said. ?I am pleased that one of the criteria for these scholarships is involvement of students in Asian Pacific communities because you will gain much more than you give in those experiences.?
The Indian Student Association performed a Hindi dance and the student club Barkada performed Filipino dances that included jumping over bamboo sticks and balancing on top of six-inch wide benches.
Audrey Yamagata-Noji, vice president of student services at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, served as keynote speaker. Among her many leadership positions and involvement in various communities, Yamagata-Noji is a member of the Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education, the Santa Ana Asian and Pacific Islander Advisory Committee and a founding board member for Asian and Pacific Americans in Higher Education.
Yamagata-Noji shared her experience of overcoming cultural barriers and stereotypes to take on leadership roles. She said many Asian Americans are raised with expectations of earning good grades and attending college, but at the same time, they are taught not to take risks or to speak out. For these reasons, Asian Americans are underrepresented and unrecognized as leaders. It is important to form organizations like APFSSA to allow Asian Americans to find their voices and become leaders, she said.
Yamagata-Noji commended the Suzukis for taking a stand and positively representing Asians in leadership.
?That was the most moving tribute anyone has ever paid to Agnes and me,? said President Suzuki. ?Thank you from the bottom of my heart.?