Indiana University alumnus Joon Park, BA’98, of Chicago, Ill., has given the largest gift to date in support of the IU Asian Culture Center. Park’s $10,000 gift will provide scholarships for IU Bloomington undergraduate students to attend a conference or workshop focused on community engagement, community advocacy or professional development. The IU Foundation will administer the gift. The awards will be called the Joon Park Student Leadership Experience Scholarship Awards in honor of Park’s generosity. Preference will be given to students who will present his/her work at a conference or has shown leadership experience on campus.
The gift was announced today at the annual luncheon hosted by the Asian Culture Center in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. “We are excited to launch the Joon Park Student Leadership Experience Award, which recognizes the importance of student community engagement in promoting inclusion and diversity,” said Edwin C. Marshall, IU vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs. “This new scholarship program honors the efforts of Joon Park and embodies the essential values of our university. We are proud to support it.” “Joon firmly believes in the value of student learning through workshops and conferences relevant to their interests,” said Melanie Castillo-Cullather, director of the IU Asian Culture Center. “His gift will help make this possible for more IU Bloomington students. We are very honored and thankful for Joon’s generous support.”
Student efforts to establish the Asian Culture Center were championed by the Student Coalition, which Park co-founded. During the summer between his junior and senior year at IU, Park took it upon himself to write a proposal for the Student Initiatives Grant. The proposal resulted in a $50,000 award, which founded the Asian Culture Center. Park holds a bachelor of art in comparative literature and East Asian language from IU and master of business administration from Northwestern University. “I had a very productive experience at IU that was forged through student organization leadership roles and great professors,” said Joon Park, chief operation officer of the investment management division at Alyeska Investment Group. “Since student leadership positions are not paid, students take on these roles as a result of whatever drive or compassion they have in their hearts. They should be rewarded for that. There have been amazing developments at IU through the Asian Culture Center and the Asian American studies program. This is my way of giving back.”
Based on the Bloomington campus of IU, the Asian Culture Center aims to promote awareness, understanding, and acceptance of Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures, history, and issues as an integral part of the fabric of American life in the United States. The Asian Culture Center accomplishes this through advocacy, institutional resources, cultural and educational support, and community outreach activities that support participation and dialogue with students, faculty, staff, and residents of Indiana. Founded in 1936, the IU Foundation is dedicated to maximizing private sector support for Indiana University by conducting fundraising campaigns and programs, investing the endowment, and providing the infrastructure and services that support these efforts. The Foundation partners with and serves all campuses of Indiana University.