May 25, 2011 | Yvonne Lim Wilson
The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) at UT Austin at its first ever Community Leadership Awards Ceremony on May 11.
In his speech, Dr. Gregory Vincent, the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement, noted that diversity and community engagement are one of the four strategic goals of the University. Asians and Asian Americans are the fastest growing group, growing three times faster than the overall rate and also account for the highest percentage of tenure-track professors on campus.
“Tonight is a pledge to continue to build and strengthen our relationship,” Vincent said. “The University is here to serve and we have to make these connections.”
The Network of Asian American Organizations (NAAO) received the Community Partnership Award. Channy Soeur, president of the NAAO, upon accepting the award said that, "this award means the community has accepted Asian Americans as a part of the community."
Former State Rep. Martha Wong, Ali Khataw of the Austin Asian American Chamber of Commerce and community activist George Chang each received the Community Leadership Circle Award.
In her speech, Rep. Wong challenged the Asian community to work together and elect more Asian Americans to office, specifically from Austin. Wong, who is from Houston, is the first Asian American woman to serve in the Texas Legislature.
“The power you have can be three times stronger if you work together and share resources,” she said.
George Chang, who was introduced as the "father of the Asian-American Employee Network," described the award as "representing twenty years of active work that includes many people in this room."
Ali Khataw, chairperson of the Austin Asian American Chamber of Commerce and president of Encotech Engineering Consultants, described his commitment to serving the community and said the award "stands for the united spirit of the Asian American community."
Dr. Mitchel Wong, who is an ophthalmologist, founder of Austin Eye and a founding member of the Texas Asian Chamber of Commerce, received the Legacy Award. Wong praised UT Austin and the education and support he received at his alma mater.
“Upon leaving the University, I felt empowered that I could accomplish any goal I wanted,” he said. “Through medicine, I’ve been able to touch many lives and allowed me to serve others.”