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Inaugural Asian American Alumni Award to honor the late Iris Chang

Jeff Unger, News Bureau


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The late author Iris Chang will be honored as the first recipient of the Outstanding Asian American Alumni Award at the 10th annual Asian American Leadership Awards ceremony at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The free, public ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. April 27 (Wednesday) in Room 210 of the Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana. The awards recognize those who have exemplified a high level of leadership and dedication to the Asian American community.

Chang is perhaps best known for having written “The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II.” The book, which uncovered atrocities committed by the Japanese army against Chinese civilians during World War II, was on The New York Times best-seller list for five months and has been translated into 13 languages. Chang also wrote “The Chinese in America: A Narrative History” and “Thread of the Silkworm.”

She was a member of the University High School Class of 1985 and graduated from the U. of I. College of Communications with a degree in journalism in 1989.

The new award was created to recognize alumni who have made outstanding contributions to the Asian American community, enjoyed exceptional success in their professional careers, performed meritorious service supporting the mission of the university, or some combination thereof. Among others to be recognized at the ceremony will be students, faculty members, staff members and registered student organizations.

Niranjan Shah, a member of the U. of I. Board of Trustees, will be the keynote speaker at the event.

The awards are sponsored by the Asian American Awareness Month Committee.

For more information call Jeffrey Sichaleune, 217-333-0050.