The face of diversity at the University of Washington
CARING IN ACTION INSPIRED BY ROBERTO MAESTAS, TSUGUO IKEDA AND OTHERS, ALUMNI OF COLOR LIKE GREGORY ALEX (ABOVE) CREATED AND RUN SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCIES THAT SERVE SEATTLE'S LESS FORTUNATE
THE FACE OF DIVERSITY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON. FOUNDED 2004
4333 Brooklyn Avenue N.E. Box 359508 Seattle, WA 98195-9508 PHONE: 206-543-0540 FAX: 206-685-0611 E-MAIL: VWPOINTS@U.WASHINGTON.EDU
VIEWPOINTS ON THE WEB: UWalum.com/viewpoints
VIEWPOINTS STAFF Publisher Paul Rucker Editor Jon Marmor Graphic Designers Jenica Wilkie, Michele Locatelli Liaison to Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity Stephanie Y. Miller
VIEWPOINTS ADVISORY COMMITTEE Paul Rucker, ’95, ’02 Executive Director, UWAA, Chair Carolyn Barge Board Member, Multicultural Alumni Partnership Malik Davis, ’94 Director of Constituent Relations, UWAA Colleen Fukui-Sketchley, ’94 President, UWAA Board of Trustees; Corporate Diversity Affairs Specialist, Nordstrom Juan C. Guerra Associate Dean, The Graduate School
etters from grateful children (above) helped by Child United, a Lynnwood international relief agency, arrive in the mailbox of founder Christine Umayam, ’99.
David Iyall Assistant Vice President for Advancement, Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity Sheila Edwards Lange, ’00, ’06 Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity Tamara Leonard Associate Director, Center for Global Studies, Jackson School of International Studies Carmela Lim, ’05 Board Member, Multicultural Alumni Partnership Stephanie Y. Miller Assistant Vice President, Community and Public Relations, Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity
DEPARTMENTS 4 Points of View 10 360° View 12-13 FACES: Jay Maebori Diankha Linear
4 Spotlight: 1 Historic Day for UW, Northwest Tribes 15 A View from the UWAA 6 EOP Celebration 1 2011
ON THE COVER: Gregory Alex, '71, was photographed March 9, 2011 at the Matt Talbot Center by Anil Kapahi
snapshot Wow at the Powwow The ASUW Winter Powwow on Jan. 22 drew a huge crowd to the Indian Heritage High School in Seattle. The powwow, which was put on by the American Indian Student Commission, was a traditional gathering to celebrate Native culture, and drew people of all ages from tribes from all over the Northwest. Photos by Anil Kapahi.
ynthia Diama, ’92, ’99, was one of my sparks. I don’t recall how I first met her. But I will never forget the twinkle in her eye when she invited me to attend my first Multicultural Alumni Partnership (MAP) breakfast and later, to join the MAP board. Here were people just like you and me, who were working to help our friends and families attending the University of Washington to break barriers and make our world a better place. What ignites an individual to become a powerful force for change? Often, it is nothing more than a simple spark. It can be from living with or witnessing inequity. It can be from a personal or family tragedy. It can be from a moment of enlightenment or someone you just met.
he University of Washington and the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D) educate a diverse student body to become responsible citizens and future leaders through a challenging environment. We take pride in recognizing these leaders who give back by operating social-service agencies and devoting their professional lives to building community. Many alumni of color featured in this issue utilized services provided by OMA&D during their academic careers. As students, they experienced the UW’s commitment to cultural and social justice through their course work, community activities and program involvement. Their career choices were a reflection of those experiences and they selected professions that make an impact. While there are countless alumni worthy of the spotlight, Assunta Ng, ’72, ’76, ’79, and the late Roberto Maestas, ’66, ’71, are two individuals who come to mind as having made special contributions to the community. In May, Assunta will be honored as the 2011 recipient of the Charles E. Odegaard Award at EOP Celebration. By founding the Seattle Chinese Post and the Northwest Asian Weekly, she brought a voice to the AsianAmerican community in the Pacific Northwest. The projects and organizations she established serve countless women and youth in the Seattle area as well.
This issue of Viewpoints is a great tribute to Roberto Maestas, ’66, ’71. He did not just give off sparks, he set our communities ablaze in his life’s work for equity and social justice. A fellow MAP board member fondly remembers asking Roberto in broken Spanish, “What do you mean by ‘El Centro de la Raza’? Is there only one Raza?” Roberto explained gently and expressively, in his inimitable style, that “La Raza” was a term meant for all people and it stood for humanity—wherever we should find it.
You have a spark. How are you using it? Who will you spark in turn? With state cutbacks, the HUB renovation, and other challenges, we need your creativity now more than ever to help MAP continue to provide student scholarships and help the University continue to be a primary educational resource for our communities. If you want to help, bring your spark to the next MAP meeting. We have a job for you! Nadine Chan Witt, M.P.H, ’01, Ph.D, ’07 MAP President, 2010-2011
You can support the Multicultural Alumni Partnership Endowed Scholarship by going to www.washington.edu/alumni/meet/groups/map.html
The community continues to mourn Roberto’s passing, but the tremendous ways in which he advocated for social justice throughout his life will live on. His service as the 36-year director of El Centro de La Raza and his contributions as a founding member of the UW President’s Minority Community Advisory Committee leave an unparalleled legacy. On behalf of OMA&D and the University community, we are proud to salute those alumni who, through tireless work and dedication, continue to enhance the lives of others and set an outstanding example for current students who will likely follow in their footsteps.
Sheila Edwards Lange, Ph.D., ’00, ‘06 Vice President for Minority Affairs Vice Provost for Diversity You can support the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity by going to: http://uwfoundation.org/diversity
COMMUNITY CONSCIENCE Roberto Maestas spent his life seeking fairness for all By Julie Garner
Roberto Maestas was an icon for civil rights in Seattle. Photo by Kathy Sauber.
Ask most people in Seattle about Roberto Maestas, ’66, ’71, and you will probably hear similar memories of watching him, yelling into a bullhorn: “Un pueblo unido jamás será vencido! The people, united, will never be defeated!” If there was a social-justice event or rally in Seattle over the past 40 years, Maestas was probably there. Social justice is what he lived and fought for. To many, he helped embody the social conscience of the Seattle area. But on Sept. 22, the movement for social justice and the University of Washington lost a good friend when Maestas died of lung cancer. He was 72. Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange, ’00, ’06, the UW’s Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity, recalls that Maestas was part of the group that led the effort to convince the UW to establish diversity programs at the UW back in the 1960s. He was a longtime member of the UW President’s Minority Advisory Committee. And he partnered with the UW to recruit students of color to attend the University. “When we had celebrations with the Latino community like Cinco de Mayo or the Day of the Dead, Roberto was always there, bringing the community with him,” Lange recalls. Most people knew Maestas as the figure leading a rally. But for others in Seattle and through-
out the nation, the memories of him are deeply personal. Eddie M. Demmings, ’75, a retired labor lawyer, flew from New Jersey to attend Maestas’ funeral.
“Social justice is what he lived for and fought for.” “He was a great friend,” said Demmings, who met Maestas in 1968. Demmings was a member of the UW Black Student Union, who, along with King County Councilman Larry Gossett, ’71, and others, went to Seattle’s Franklin High School to support two African American girls who were sent home from school because they were wearing naturals. “Basically, they got sent home because they didn’t straighten their hair,” Demmings recalls. “There was a teacher who sat in with us and that was Roberto.” Maestas was a high school Spanish teacher at the time.
Demmings said that two years ago, Maestas proposed that Demming’s 16-year-old son travel to Nicaragua to spend a month with a Nicaraguan family. “Roberto said it would change my son’s life and it did,” Demmings says. “He acquired an understanding of a how a large percentage of humanity lives. I was always indebted to Roberto anyway for his friendship but he did something wonderful for our family.” Gossett remembers Oct. 11, 1972, when Maestas suggested taking over the old abandoned Beacon Hill Elementary School as a place for educational, social and human services for all races and ethnicities. “It had been empty for eight years. He said, ‘We’re taking it over because we’re going to discover it, like Columbus and call it ours’,” Gossett says. That effort resulted in the creation of El Centro de la Raza, a social-service agency founded and run by Maestas that still serves the community today. Gossett and Maestas were both named among the UW’s “Wondrous 100” in June 2008, when Columns, the UW alumni magazine, marked its 100th anniversary by highlighting the 100 most notable, fascinating or influential graduates. “That honor,” Gossett says, “really meant a lot to him.” Julie Garner is a Seattle-area freelance writer who frequently contributes to Viewpoints 5
COMPASSION. IT’S THE WASHINGTON WAY.
A COMMUNITY OF CARING Alumni of color carry on the spirit of the late Roberto Maestas, running agencies that serve Western Washington
Edith Elion, '74, '77, has led Alantic Street Center since 2002. Photo by Ron Wurzer.
By Jon Marmor Seattle isn’t just known for airplanes, coffee, computers and wet weather. It also has a reputation for being a place where compassion and the pursuit of social justice are woven into the fabric of daily life. For decades, Seattle’s community- and socialservice agencies have played a critical role, serving hundreds of thousands of people who need food, shelter, and education; or assistance to learn a new language, overcome an addiction or acquire the skills to find a job. Most of these agencies were founded by and/or are run by alumni from the University of Washington. Many are alumni of color or from underrepresented communities. One of the area’s most renowned beacons for social justice was the late Roberto Maestas, ’66, ’71 (see page 5). The New Mexico native was renowned for being on the front lines of societal change that took root in the 1960s and ’70s. After graduating from the UW with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a master’s degree in Romance Languages and Literature, Maestas created a program at South Seattle Community College to provide basic adult education and English as a Second Language for the city’s growing Latino community. Later, when funding was cut off in 1972, he 6
joined other activists in occupying the abandoned Beacon Hill School and negotiating its conversion into El Centro de la Raza, an organization that for four decades has provided a wide range of essential services for Seattle’s Latino community.
“The University of Washington educates students for precisely these kinds of innovative community-service and leadership roles.” Though Maestas is gone, his spirit lives on through the work of United Way of King County, Homeless Backpacks, Sea-Mar Community Health Centers, Atlantic Street Center, and dozens of other community-service agencies. Without the dedication of Maestas and the hard work of many fellow UW grads, the community would be much worse off today.
“The University of Washington educates students for precisely these kinds of innovative communityservice and leadership roles,” explains Edwina “Eddie” Uehara, dean of the UW School of Social Work. “Our graduates give back, in major and lasting ways, to the state and localities in which they were educated.” “I think it is a matter of civic pride,” adds Bob Hurlbut, ’85, founder and director of recruitment for Rainier Scholars, which helps students from ethnic minority backgrounds reach their dream of going to college. The alumni who created or run social-service agencies share one common goal: to make a difference in the lives of community members, no matter the particular issue or population being served. For some—like Christine Umayam, ’99, who runs Child United, a Lynnwood international relief agency serving children in three countries—the inspiration was intensely personal, in her case, a trip to the Philippines. For others, like Vaughnetta J. Barton, ’97, executive director of Foundation for Early Learning, it’s a desire to create change on a broader scale. These are a few examples of the impact the UW and alumni of color are making in our community. Jon Marmor is editor of Viewpoints
A COMMUNITY OF CARING
LIFE LESSONS FROM THE UW
Rebuilding lives, restoring hope
GREGORY K. ALEX, ’71 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/FOUNDER MATT TALBOT CENTER By Jon Marmor It should not come as a surprise that the founder and executive director of a Seattle treatment center for the addicted, homeless and mentally ill has a degree in architecture from the University of Washington. Gregory K. Alex, ’71, is an expert at rebuilding lives. Alex, who earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of Built Environments in 1971, knows plenty about creating a foundation on which a life can thrive. For in addition to what he learned in the classroom, Alex got first-hand experience in forgiveness, determination and second chances during his time as a star player on the Husky football team during the tumultuous 1960s and ’70s. Alex was one of four African American players suspended by coach Jim Owens in 1969 during a time of racial unrest on the team. They were protesting how fellow African Americans were being treated. Today, Alex puts the lessons learned in the classroom and on the football field to good use as he helps thousands of Seattle’s less fortunate get their lives back on track at the Matt Talbot Center in a gritty section of Belltown. Empathic yet strong-willed, Alex—a well-respected minister who founded the center in 1985—demands a commitment from those who come to the center on 3rd Avenue. People seeking help must be serious about wanting to overcome their addictions and change their lives. “We offer more than a warm place and a meal,” Alex says. “We help individuals overcome obstacles to self-sufficiency. We offer people the opportunity to regain their dignity and start their life anew.” In addition to helping more than 12,000 people in 2009, the center operates housing for newly clean and sober clients. In the near future, Alex and his wife, Dora “D” Krasucki, ’79, will open the Mary McClinton Transitional Home for Women in the Central District, with a new women’s center nearby that is scheduled to open in 2013. But sharing the fruits of his UW education doesn’t stop there. Alex, who in 2003 approached the UW Athletic Department with the idea of a reconciliation meeting with Owens, is the chaplain and spiritual adviser to the Husky football team. “We are always striving to be better than our current state,” Alex says. “That is why I am here … why the University of Washington is here, to help to develop these great kids into great adults.”
“We are always striving to be better than our current state. That is why I am here…why the University of Washington is here, to help to develop these great kids into great adults.”
Jon Marmor is editor of Viewpoints
For a list of the many nonprofit social-service agencies that were created by and/or are run by UW alumni (many are alumni of color), go to www.UWalum.com/Viewpoints
A COMMUNITY OF CARING
THE IMPACT OF A UW DEGREE
From Iranian immigrant to voice for refugees
SOMEIREH AMIRFAIZ, ‘89 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR REFUGEE WOMEN’S ALLIANCE By Jon Marmor Someireh Amirfaiz, ’89, knows first-hand about the struggles of people who are new to this country—and how her education at the University of Washington helped prepare her for a career helping some of Western Washington’s most needy people: refugees from foreign countries. Amirfaiz calls herself a “displaced person,” having fled her native Iran during the Iranian Revolution to relocate to the United States, first in Michigan and now in Washington. For the past 10 years, Amirfaiz has been the executive director of the Refugee Women’s Alliance. Headquartered in South Seattle, this multi-ethnic, community-based organization provides a wide range of services to refugee and immigrant communities throughout King and Snohomish PHOTO BY ANIL KAPAHI counties. Amirfaiz’s success story of going from immigrant to leader of one of Western Washington’s most important social service agencies came about because of her appetite for education, flexibility and ability to embrace change. She came to the UW after starting out at a community college in Michigan. She began studying building construction and architecture but found her calling in the humanities after she took a psychology class. Her transition to the UW was a challenge, given the enormous campus, classrooms with hundreds of students, and the fact that English was not her first language. But her years at the UW proved to be extremely valuable. “Higher education prepares you for life,” Amirfaiz explains. “It teaches you discipline and how to think outside the box. You find ways to overcome challenges. We need skills for whatever life throws at you. “I learned how to focus, how to study, how to overcome deficiencies and build on my strengths.” Money was a big challenge for Amirfaiz and her siblings. As a foreign-born student, she was ineligible for scholarships, and the only job she could get was on campus, working in the health library. “Once, between the four of us, we had $5,” she recalls. For Amirfaiz, there was also the big cultural adjustment. In her native country, women became doctors, lawyers or engineers. Talk therapy was not embraced. But at the UW, she earned a B.A. in psychology and a master’s degree at Seattle University, and did clinical counseling for refugees before ascending to become an administrator of an organization with 11 offices and 140 staff members who speak 37 languages and dialects. “The University of Washington has a history of producing successful individuals who were not born in this country,” Amirfaiz says. “When I arrived here, at first it was intimidating. But I had to find ways to excel. I was embraced by other students and it was a very good experience.” Jon Marmor is editor of Viewpoints
360° View: DIVERSITY FROM EVERY ANGLE PEOPLE IN THE NEWS Sharon J. Prill, ’93, a native of Hawaii who is part Filipino, has been named publisher of the Yakima Herald-Republic. She had been senior vice president and general manager of interactive media and audience development at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in Wisconsin and held management positions at The Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune. Ron Chew, ’02, has been named executive director of the International Community Health Services Foundation. He previously headed Chew Communications and spent more than 17 years as executive director of the Wing Luke Asian Pacific Museum. He also co-authored the book Years of Caring, The Story of Nikkei Concern. Four alumni were among those honored at the Top Contributors to the Asian Community event in December: Ted Yamamura, ’71, ’72, regional manager-Asia Pacific at Boeing Commercial Airplanes; Vera Ing, ’74, a former partner of Ing & Associates Architects / Planners; Ruthann Kurose, ’74, a board member of such community organizations as the Seattle Art Museum and KCTS Television; and Christine Umayam, ’99, founder and CEO of Child United, an organization that helps extremely poor Filipino children receive an education. Shirley Hune, professor of educational leadership and policy studies, was one of 13 women honored at the Women of Color Empowered
1. 2. 3. 4.
luncheon organized by the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation. Since joining the Educational Leadership & Policy Studies Department in 2007, Hune has conducted research on closing the achievement gap of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Washington state’s public schools. Gary Ikeda, ’73, ’76, is the new chief of the Attorney General’s University of Washington division. He is the former senior legal counsel for Seattle Public Schools and a former deputy attorney general. He is the first in his family to attend college. Karen Turner Lee, ’95, was appointed to the Western Washington University of Board of
Christine Umayam Sharon Prill Karen Turner Lee Gary Ikeda
Trustees by Gov. Chris Gregoire, ’71. Lee, a former UW Alumni Association president, is the first African American and first woman to serve as CEO of Pioneer Human Services, a Seattle nonprofit agency. Phyllis Wise, interim UW president, was selected by Asian Pacific Fund as the recipient of the fifth Chang-Lin Tien Education Leadership Award, which recognizes the professional accomplishments and leadership of Asian Americans in higher education. The program honors the legacy of Chang-Lin Tien, the first Asian American to head a major American research university. He served as chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, from 1990 to 1997.
IN MEMORY Frank Fukumi Ashida, ’51, a native of Kent who, along with his family, spent time in the Minidoka Relocation Center during World War II, died June 28. He later attended Military Intelligence Language School and served overseas in Japan. After receiving his degree from the UW, he worked in the travel industry and retired from Holland America Line after 49 years. He was 86. Charles E. Brown, a former UW journalism student who was one of the first people of color to work for The Seattle Times, died Aug. 10. He spent more than 40 years as a Times reporter. He also hosted a local gospel radio show. He was 62. 10
Patrick Kazuo Hagiwara, ’49, a decorated World War II veteran who served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, died June 24. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the UW, he spent his career with Boeing as an engineer and manager. He was 91.
Felisa Jane Taylor Hundley, a former UW graduate music student who taught music in the Seattle Public Schools for 30 years, died July 26. She was also the organist for the First African Methodist Episcopal Church for 30 years; music director at Washington Park Baptist Church; and organist for Mount Zion Baptist Church.
Hiromu Heyamoto, ’51, who was relocated with his family to the Minidoka internment camp before serving with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, died Aug 16. He earned a bachelor’s degree in fisheries from the UW and worked for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service. He was 87.
Ernest Eugene Mills, who spent 34 years as a broadcast engineer at the UW, died Dec. 6. He was 69. Noboru Morio, ’65, ’08, a pharmacist who served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and later was presented with an honorary degree from the UW after he spent time in a relocation camp during World War II, died Aug. 5. He was 91.
MILESTONES Navy Medicine Support Command, and director of the Navy’s Medicine Service Corps, was named Women of Color Technologist of the Year.
Eleanor Valentin, ’75, the commander of a global network of Navy Medicine activities, took the top honor at the recent national Women of Color awards ceremony. Valentin, a Rear Admiral who is commander of the Jacksonville, Fla.-based
The UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity received two grants from the U.S. Department of Education to support low-income and first-generation college students. A $1.1 million grant for the TRIO Student Support Services Program will assist 120 students annually in their pursuit of undergraduate degrees in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. The UW also received a $2.1 million grant renewal for its existing Student Support Services program that serves 300 students. The Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington, under the leadership of CEO Clarence Moriwaki, ’78, received a $75,000 grant
from American Express the National Trust for Historic Preservation as part of the Partners in Preservation’s $1 million commitment to preservation efforts in the Puget Sound region. The City of Seattle proclaimed last Oct. 28 as Alan Sugiyama Day, honoring the lifetime of work of the man who co-founded the Asian Family Affair newspaper and was the first Asian American elected to the Seattle School Board. Sugiyama, ’84, also established the Center for Career Alternatives in 1979. He retired last year after 31 years there.
UW CHAPTER HONORED AS NATIONAL ROLE MODEL The University of Washington chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) is one of five chapters nationwide to be named a Role Model Chapter by the national organization. The UW SACNAS chapter, which is comprised of undergraduates, graduates and postdoctoral scholars, is designed to provide a network of support for its members. The group has served as advisers to the Graduate School in coordinating diversity efforts on campus, participated in panel discussions with various science departments about minorities in science, and worked with high school students in Royal City, Wash. It is being honored specifically for its work in outreach. The group won Chapter of the Year honors in its division a year ago. —Jon Marmor Photo by ANIL KAPA HI
faces: JAY MAEBORI
INSPIRATION IS HIS MISSION
Enthusiasm is Jay Maebori's calling card. Photo by David Wentworth
State teacher of the year Jay Maebori won’t rest until all of his students succeed By Ina Zajac
Jay Maebori, ’94, was shocked last September when he was named the 2011 Washington State Teacher of the Year. Today, the honor still feels surreal to the Kentwood High School English teacher, Yearbook adviser and junior varsity boys tennis coach. Maebori, a fourth-generation Japanese American who earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Washington in 1994, is a National Board Certified teacher. Working with honors students, those learning English and special-education students, he is rigorous but fair. He tells his students to work hard and expect success. That is evident in his work with Kentwood’s intervention classes, where he helps students who have failed to meet state standards. After Maebori works with them, about eight in 10 are able to meet state standards. Maebori—for whom teaching is his second career—was amazed when he was named one of the 10 teachers from all over Washington in the running for teacher of the year. “I thought it would be nice to win, but it wasn’t real,” he says. Then he heard his name called 12
when he and the other contenders were on stage. “My body went completely numb,” he recalls. “It was an out-of-body experience.” Maebori didn’t set out to be a teacher. The Hawaii native, who moved to Seattle in 1990 to
“He is truly an inspiration to his students and his peers.” attend the UW, wanted to be a journalist. “My time at the University of Washington was a great experience,” he says. “I am so glad I went there.” After graduation, Maebori began a career as a local sports writer. At the same time, he was drawn to the idea of teaching young people. On the side, he started volunteering in the classroom,
testing the waters before deciding to take the plunge in 2001. “I wanted to make an impact in journalism,” he says. “But, I also wanted to make an impact in education. Teaching was always in the back of my mind.” He went back to school and earned his teaching certificate and master’s degree in education from Seattle Pacific University. Kentwood High School Principal Doug Hostetter wasn’t surprised that Maebori was recognized as the best in Washington. He notes the enthusiasm and “anything-is-possible” attitude Maebori has. “Jay isn’t satisfied with 90 percent of his students meeting state standards,” Hostetter says. “Jay questions himself and asks, “How can I reach the remaining 10 percent? He is truly an inspiration to his students and his peers.” Maebori is now a candidate for national Teacher of the Year, which will be awarded by the Council of Chief State School Officers in May when President Obama announces the winner in a ceremony at the White House. Ina Zajac is a Seattle-area freelance writer who contributes frequently to Viewpoints
faces: Diankha Linear With persistence and a nonstop work ethic, Diankha Linear has become a mentor to many. Photo by Anil Kapahi
THE ADVOCATE Diankha Linear, ’96, may have grown up in an economically poor part of West Seattle, but one thing she never lacked was determination. With perseverance, classroom smarts and an ability to think on her feet, she overcame numerous obstacles to graduate from the University of Washington, earn a law degree from an Ivy League school, and become corporate counsel for Expeditors International, a global logistics company in Seattle. But she didn’t stop there. Grateful for her success and eager to give back, she is a community volunteer who, among other things, served as president of the Loren Miller Bar Association (the oldest minority bar and largest organization of African American attorneys in Washington State), and worked with the YWCA’s Girls First Program as well as Community Friends, a program supporting foster children in Seattle. “I want to be a role model for my daughters and other girls of color,” says the mother of 3-year-old Nadia and 8-month-old Simone. Linear—the middle child of a union trade marble and granite mason and Seattle Housing Authority manager—couldn’t afford college, so she joined the Army to earn tuition money. She
Obstacles were no match for Diankha Linear’s desire to help others BY JON MARMOR
began her service after high school and later joined the UW’s ROTC program as an Army cadet. (She spent 16 years in the Army.) As a UW student, she awoke at 4 a.m. most days for ROTC physical training, worked 30 hours a week at a part-time job, went to school full time and spent many weekends on military field exercises.
“Growing up, I simply refused to let life's obstacles become lifelong barriers.” That may sound overwhelming but Linear made the most of it. “I had remarkable mentors at the UW, including military science professor John Bowen, who selected me for the rare opportunity to attend airborne training as a cadet,” she recalls. After earning her B.A. in political science, she went to law school at the University of Pennsylvania.
That was her goal early on, when she learned about the civil rights movement as well as Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. “Growing up, I simply refused to let life’s obstacles become lifelong barriers,” she says. “I was convinced that becoming a lawyer was one way to have a voice and try to make a difference.” Linear worked for two well-known Seattle law firms before Expeditors International of Washington, Inc. Besides her day job and busy family life with her husband and two daughters, she takes pride in her work as an advisory board member for the Washington State Bar Association’s Leadership Institute, a nationally recognized program that trains lawyers of diverse and traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. “I’m a true believer in the power of advocacy,” says Linear, who was named the “Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year” in 2006 by the Washington State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. “I am determined to make my mark on the world.” Jon Marmor is editor of Viewpoints 13
spotlight: THE UW & NORTHWEST TRIBES Left, Quinault Tribe leader Fawn Sharp signs the historic document. Bottom, Suquamish chair Leonard Forsman says the UW and Northwest tribes share many values. Photos by Anil Kapahi.
A NEW BEGINNING Signing a Memorandum of Understanding brings promise of an enhanced working relationship By Jon Marmor
The excitement in the air on the University of Washington campus on a sunny Saturday morning in September was almost palpable. But it had nothing to do with the Husky football game that was kicking off in a few hours. Inside the lobby of Johnson Hall, representatives from Northwest regional tribes and leaders of the University of Washington gathered for a historic occasion—the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that formalized the relationship between the University and the tribes. “This is a turning point,” Interim UW President Phyllis Wise said. “We have looked forward to this day.” She wasn’t the only one. Tribal leaders hailed the move as an important step in defining how the University and tribes will work together to recruit and retain students, provide support for students and build a community for Native American students on campus. “There is a lot of collaboration between the University of Washington and sovereign nations,”
says Leonard Forsman, ’87, chair of the Suquamish Indian Tribe. “And there are a lot of shared values between the UW and the tribes. That’s why this is a great thing.” The signing of the document, formally called the “Memorandum of Understanding Between Northwest Regional Tribes and the University of Washington,” has actually been years in the making. Since 2007, the UW has hosted the annual Tribal Leadership Summit, inviting Northwest tribal leaders to come to campus to meet with UW leaders and discuss issues both have in common. An even bigger step in building the relationship between the University and the tribes was the UW’s commitment to build the Intellectual House, a longhouse-style facility on campus. “Committing to build the longhouse has already changed the conversation,” says Julian Argel, ’84, ’90, ’91, a member of the Tsimshian and Haida tribes who is assistant to the UW Vice President for Minority Affairs and Diversity for
To see the Memorandum of Understanding, go to: http://www.washington.edu/diversity/ tribal_relations/summit/UWTribalMOU.pdf
Native American issues and director of the UW Educational Talent Search Team. “We are working together in a new, 21st century way.” Fawn Sharp, ’95, chair of the Quinault Tribe, says the signing of the memorandum is only the beginning. “When tribes work together with the University,” she says, “a lot of positive things can happen.” Actually, in the past several years, collaborations between the UW and Northwest tribes have been quite productive. The Foster School of Business, School of Social Work, Law School, Information School, Evans School of Public Affairs and the School of Medicine have collaborated with tribes on a wide range of research projects. “We have done a lot,” said Sheila Edwards Lange, ’00, ’06, Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity, “but there is so much more to do. Signing this document will ensure that it continues. This is about the future.” Jon Marmor is editor of Viewpoints
A VIEW FROM THE PRESIDENT
CELEBRATING MAP SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS Five University of Washington students received scholarships at the Multicultural Alumni Partnership (MAP) Bridging the Gap Breakfast on Oct. 16. Posing, left to right, with U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (center) are sophomore Joseph Dupris; graduate student Mariela Salcedo-Valencia, ’06, recipient of the Owen G. Lee Scholarship; senior Morgan Cassell; and senior Hope Hunderfund. Not pictured is senior Benjamin Lealofi, recipient of the Alfredo Arreguin Scholarship. Photo by Anil Kapahi.
Calendar of Events April 2, 2011 Los Muñequitos de Matanzas (Cuba) 8 p.m. UW World Series, Meany Theater. http://www.meany.org/tickets/
April 6, 2011 Harlem String Quartet 8 p.m. UW World Series, Meany Theatre http://www.meany.org/tickets/
April 7, 2011 Samuel E. Kelly Distinguished Faculty Lecture 5:30 p.m. Reception, 6:30 p.m. Lecture, Jones Playhouse Theatre http://depts. washington.edu/omad/ samuel-e-kelly-lecture/
May 5, 2011 EOP Celebration 5:30 p.m. Reception, 6:30 p.m. Dinner; Bell Harbor International Conference Center, Seattle http://depts.washington.edu/omad/ celebration-2011/
July 22, 2011 OMA&D Alumni Remix 7-11 p.m. Don James Center
CollEen Fukui-Sketchley. PHOTO BY KAREN ORDERS.
I’m sure you were just as amazed as I was to learn (from our cover story) that most of the social-service agencies in Western Washington were founded by—or are run by—alumni of color from the University of Washington. Then again, why should that be a surprise? For nearly 150 years, the UW has been an integral part of our local community, turning out graduates who serve Washington residents in need of everything from food and shelter to how to learn a new language. The fact is, in this time of devastating budget cuts and increased scrutiny on how tax dollars are spent, we have the University to thank in large part for creating the social safety net so many Washingtonians depend on. Our alumni have been the unsung heroes who address a wide range of social issues, quietly, under the radar, yet they make a difference to so many. Think of it: without our graduates, huge pockets of populations wouldn’t get the services they need as they deal with the vagaries of life, especially now. I’m proud and humbled by this. And I hope you will join me and the other 50,000 members of the UW Alumni Association in saluting our unsung heroes.
For other diversity events, visit http://www.washington.edu/ diversity/ Colleen Fukui-Sketchley, ’94 UWAA President, 2010-11
4333 Brooklyn Avenue NE Box 359508, Seattle, WA 98195-9508
EOP CELEBRATION 2011 NG TO RECEIVE ODEGAARD AWARD
Assunta Ng, ’74, ’76, ’79, founder and publisher of the Seattle Chinese Post and Northwest Asian Weekly newspapers, will receive the University of Washington’s Charles E. Odegaard Award at EOP Celebration 2011 on May 5 at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center on the Seattle waterfront. The event from will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. The public is invited. The Odegaard Award, which was established in 1973, honors a member of the University community who continues to carry out the former UW president’s work on behalf of diversity at the UW and the citizens of the state of Washington. It is the only Universityand community-selected award, and is regarded as the highest achievement in diversity at the UW. In addition to founding and heading the two newspapers serving Seattle’s Asian American Community, Ng is known for her volunteer work mentoring women and youth of color. A native of China, Ng came to the United States in 1971. She earned three degrees from the UW: a bachelor’s degree in international studies in 1974, a
OMA&D and Friends of EOP Celebration 2011 Date: May 5, 2011 Where: Bell Harbor International Conference Center, Seattle Time: 5:30 p.m. Reception, 6:30 p.m. Dinner Price: $100 Contact: Roxanne Christian at 206-221-0680 or firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://depts.washington.edu/omad/celebration-2011
teaching certificate in 1976 and a master’s degree in communications in 1979. She began her journalism career as a writer for the UW Daily. She later taught social studies to immigrants at Mercer Junior High School. As she became aware of how little information was available to the Seattle Chinese community, she founded the Seattle Chinese Post in 1982. A year later, she started the Northwest Asian Weekly. But Ng isn’t just known for serving the community through journalism. She is one of the most prolific volunteers the area has ever seen. She established several community projects and organizations, including the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation, which provides leadership, community-building and diversity-training programs for youth and adults. She also created the Women of Color Empowered Luncheon series to showcase women of all ethnicities. Moreover, Ng has helped raise millions of dollars for a wide range of charitable causes, including those benefiting foster children and victims of domestic violence.
Her connection to the UW remains strong, too. She has donated money to the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity EOP Scholarship program and raised money for scholarship endowments in both the Evans School of Public Affairs and the Foster School of Business. The recipient of countless awards and honors, she received the 1998 Multicultural Alumni Partnership (MAP) Distinguished Alumnus Award. In 2004, she was inducted into the UW Department of Communication Alumni Hall of Fame. Ng joins a long list of civic leaders who have received the prestigious Odegaard Award. Other recent winners include businessman and philanthropist Nelson Del Rio, ’84; W. Ron Allen, ’83, chairman and executive director of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe; and the members of the 1968 Black Student Union. Celebration 2011 is presented by the UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, and the Friends of the Educational Opportunity Program. For more information or to register, go to http://depts.washington. edu/omad/celebration-2011/