OAKLAND — The Japanese American Women Alumnae of UC Berkeley’s 21st annual luncheon meeting was held April 9 at Yoshi’s Jazz Club and Japanese Restaurant in Oakland’s Jack London Square with 80 members and guests in attendance.
The keynote speaker, long-time Bay Area television newscaster Wendy Tokuda, gave an inspiring presentation on the non-profit organization she co-founded, Students Rising Above. This highly successful organization offers multifaceted assistance to impoverished students who are committed to pursuing educational opportunities.
Typically the students, who are the first members of their families to attend college, face many difficult challenges. They are supported financially, academically and with a strong mentor program to support their academic goals. Tokuda’s commitment to the students was reflected in her compelling presentation and dedication to the success of all the student participants.
The Outstanding Alumna of the Year was Berkeley native Joyce Takahashi (BA, UCB, 1955; Ph.D. UCLA, 1960). The UC Davis emerita adjunct professor was honored for her research in the field of organic and heteroatom chemistry, her dedication to her students at UCD, and her community service.
Takahashi was elected to the academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa in 1954, and the science honor society Sigma Xi in 1955. She volunteers at the California Museum in Sacramento and asked that the award check be sent there in support of its exhibit on Japanese American history, “Uprooted,” and its Time of Remembrance program.
She accepted the award in memory of her mother, the late Barbara Takahashi (UC Diploma, UC Training School for Nurses, 1930; RN, 1929; Ph.N., 1930), to honor her role in the purchase and maintenance of the Japanese Women’s Clubhouse, the sale of which resulted in the JAWAUCB scholarship endowment fund.
The recipients of the 2011 JAWAUCB scholarships are:
• Laura Ito, College of Letters and Science, Religious Studies
• Naomi Schmidt, College of Letters and Science, Philosophy
• Robyn Suzuki, College of Letters and Science, Linguistics
• Theresa Molino, Graduate School, Anthropology
• Mie Sato, Graduate School, Science and Math
Three representatives of UC Berkeley attended the luncheon: Dr. Carroll Brentano, coordinating editor, Chronicle of the University of California; Kathryn Neal, associate university archivist; and Matt Ulery, coordinator for alumni events and groups, California Alumni Association.
The annual business meeting preceded the luncheon. Following the treasurer’s report, the officers for the ensuing year were elected.