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Asian and Asian Pacific American Alumni Network


A Brief History of the Asian and Asian Pacific American Alumni Network

2003 AAPAAN Logo
The 2003 AAPAAN Logo

For many years, ASU has thought about trying to find a way to maintain contact with the University’s Asian and Asian Pacific American alumni/ae. In the summer of 1998, these thoughts finally translated into action.

At the beginning of the summer of 1998, ASU president, Yen Ling Shek, and Annetta Thompson from the Alumni Association mailed out surveys to over 2000 Asian and Asian Pacific American alumni/ae seeking information about their experiences, interests and concerns. Shortly thereafter, hundreds of responses filtered in confirming the belief that there was a lot of support-and indeed a lot of need-for some kind of an alumni/ae network.

As a result, Yen and the newly hired Assistant Dean of Students, Glenna Chang, formed a small planning committee of alumni/ae to explore the possibilities in the fall of 1998. The group convened in November of that year to review the results of the surveys, brainstorm ideas, and outline the general structure of the alumni organization-to-be. At that gathering, the participants agreed on the provisional title “Asian and Asian Pacific American Alumni Network” (AAPAAN) and the broad goal of providing an alumni structure that “builds and supports connections with the University of Virginia community.” Based on this foundation, some primary objectives for the organization were also laid out. Among them were efforts to: mentor current students, provide a career network for students and alumni/ae, assist in recruiting Asian and Asian Pacific American students, develop scholarships, and create a social network for alumni/ae.

The planning group met again in early February to further develop the configuration of the alumni/ae council, its projected budget, and a strategic plan. Later that month, the network’s first social was organized in Northern Virginia. It was held at the Masquerade, a bar and caf in an area central to many young Asian Pacific American Alumni/ae. The event was a success. Nearly fifty Asian and Asian Pacific American alumni/ae were in attendance.

The future remains promising. The first official meeting of the network took place on April 24, 1999 in Charlottesville. At that point, interim members were selected to positions within the organization for the first time.