Pacific University Celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Pacific University, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and the Student Multicultural Center, in collaboration with university partners, proudly celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May.

The AAPI community has a rich history dating back thousands of years. This month, Pacific University honors the contributions, culture and heritage of Asian American and Pacific Islander people, while acknowledging we stand with our AAPI communities and condemn hate and AAPI Month violence of all forms.

Students, faculty and staff are invited to events that include an insightful discussion about racism toward AAPI communities, a panel of Pacific’s AAPI faculty and staff sharing their journeys, and a book reading from alumnus and trustee Tim Tran ’74 about what it means to find refuge in America. The SMC in partnership with the Forest Grove Library presents a discussion on the history of Oregon's early Chinese residents and an evening with author Kawai Strong Washington, whose debut novel is a story of exile and the pursuit of salvation.

View details and register to participate in events honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May. 

Plus, explore a virtual museum exhibit through June, or read articles highlighting AAPI students in Pacific magazine and the Oregon Historical Quarterly.


Virtual Museum Exhibit

  • DISplace, a virtual exhibit at the Five Oaks Museum shines a light on Hawaiian voices. Those voices include the exhibit’s co-curator Kanani Miyamoto, who teaches printmaking at Pacific, and Nā Haumāna O Hawaiʻi. DISplace focuses on the widely unknown connection between Hawaiʻi, the Pacific Northwest, and the communities that continue to flow between these two regions.

Articles Featuring AAPI Alumni

  • Lillian Kurahara and Yukie Katayama Sumoge attended in the 1940s, but due to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and other political circumstances, it wasn’t until 2007 that they both received honorary degrees from Pacific University.
  • Newton Wesley '39, Hon. '86 didn’t attend Pacific University, but he certainly left his mark on of the university’s College of Optometry. A pioneer in the field of contact lenses, Wesley was forced to leave Portland after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and eventually made his way to Chicago.
  • In 1970, Khiem “Tim” Tran and Thuy “Cathy” Trinh left war-torn South Vietnam to attend Pacific University. The couple returned a few years later when Tim’s student visa expired. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, they endured multiple escape attempts before finally landing back in the U.S., and eventually returning to Forest Grove, where Tim is now a trustee for Pacific University. The Tran’s journey is chronicled in the memoir American Dreamer.
  • Pacific Professor Yasutaka Maruki traces Pacific University’s first Asian-American students to three Japanese students who attended in the 1870s. Log inthrough Pacific University Library to view Maruki’s article published in the Oregon Historical Quarterly.
Wednesday, April 28, 2021