University News

WIU President Guiyou Huang: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May 2, 2022

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Dear University Community,

Each year since 1990, the month of May is celebrated as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the U.S. to recognize how individuals of Asian and Pacific American lineage have enriched and shaped America's history. This year, the Federal Asian Pacific American Council, the premier organization representing Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander employees in the federal governments, has set this year's theme as "Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration."

Collaboration is key across all sectors of our society and at our University. It was because of that collaboration, which was most likely a mighty feat in the early 1900s without the advent of the technology we know today, our first international students – six males from the Philippines – enrolled in 1905. We have numerous instances of collaborative efforts, and the enormous contributions, of Asian American and Pacific Islanders on U.S. history, including Asian American women who played a critical part in America's war effort during World War II, like Chinese Americans Hazel Ying Lee and Maggie Gee who were among the nearly 1,100 women trained as WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs)).

As we celebrate this month, I thank our Asian American and Pacific Islander students, faculty, and staff, as well as our international students from Asian and Pacific countries, for your contributions and achievements.

Guiyou Huang, Ph.D.

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