Even within such a remarkable community of IU alums, a few individuals stand out. To recognize their contributions, the Asian Pacific Islander Alumni Association presents the Distinguished Asian/Pacific American Alumni Award each year.
The Distinguished Asian/Pacific American Alumni Award
Honoring the best of the best
Established in 2006, the Distinguished Asian/Pacific American Alumni Award recognizes outstanding men and women who impact their local communities and the greater Asian/Pacific American community. The award also highlights those who exhibit excellence and achievement in their careers and inspire future IU alumni. By honoring our Asian/Pacific American alumni, we hope to inspire today’s student to strive for both personal and professional success.
Know a deserving alum?
If you know someone who is deserving of the IU Asian/Pacific American Distinguished Alumni Award, go to the online nomination form and complete the required fields. If you have any questions about the form or the nomination process, contact a member of our team at IUAPIAA@alumni.iu.edu.
Past Distinguished Asian/Pacific American Alumni Award recipients
Prior to being one of four recipients of IU’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award, the university’s highest honor for alumni, Lorna Schofield, the nation’s first Filipino-American federal judge, began homecoming weekend by receiving the 2016 Distinguished Asian/Pacific American Alumni Award.
George C. Woo was born in Shanghai, China in 1941. He received an OD degree from the University of Waterloo in 1964. Shortly after, he traveled to Bloomington to perform graduate research in Vision Science, receiving an MS (1968) and PhD (1970) at the IU School of Optometry. Dr. Woo took up a faculty position at Waterloo where he advanced to Professor by 1980.
As president of the Asian Alumni Association, Sophia made tremendous strides toward enhancing several of their signature events, particularly the Distinguished Asian/Pacific American Alumni Award. She was a thoughtful planner and meticulously orchestrated our events by weaving her passions of art, music, politics, and social service into our programs.
Eugene Eoyang, author and professor emeritus of comparative literature and East Asian languages and cultures at the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences, received the Asian Pacific American Alumni Award in 2012. Eoyang also founded the East Asian Summer Language Institute at IU.
Sau-Ling Cynthia Wong, BA’70, of Sunnyvale, California, is professor emeritus of ethnic studies at the University of California at Berkeley and a scholar on the Chinese Diaspora and Chinese-American literatures. Wong has become a pioneer in Asian American studies since graduating summa cum laude from IU in 1970.
Anurag D. Mendhekar, MS’94, PhD’98, has contributed to the field of computer science as an entrepreneur, founding three successful companies. Along with several scientific publications to his credit, Mendhekar has been awarded six patents, with several more pending. He was named the “2008 Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine. His firm, Blue Vector, also was recognized by the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal with its Emerging Technology Award.
G. Michael Witte, BA’79, JD’82, serves as judge for the Dearborn Superior Court No. 1 and was the first Asian American trial judge to be elected in the state of Indiana. An involved alumnus, Witte has served as the president of the Robert H. McKinney School of Law Alumni Association; has been president of the Dearborn County Chapter of the IUAA; and served as the coordinator of the Dearborn County IU Varsity Club.
Yoshito Kawahara, PhD’79, a third-generation Japanese American who overcame life in a World War II internment camp to become a successful scholar and a leader of the Asian American Psychological Association, was honored with the Distinguished Asian/Pacific American Alumni Award from Indiana University on Friday, April 27, 2007.
Belle Liang, BS’89, an education professor at Boston College and a national expert on youth mentoring, received the inaugural Distinguished Asian/Pacific American Alumni Award from IUAAA. As an undergraduate at IU Bloomington, she rode in the Little 500 and was a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority.