Message from the USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association

Parting Words from Rei Umekubo ’85, Our Outgoing APAA President

As a new school year begins, I can’t believe it’s been two years since I was installed as president of the APAA. But as we are well aware, this past year has been a most extraordinary one. During my professional career, I have weathered four economic crises—the 1990 S&L crisis, the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the tech crash of 2000, and the Great Recession of 2008—all of which impacted and displaced many people. But I had never experienced a pandemic-induced crisis, coupled with the social upheaval that erupted in 2020. All this has not only affected our economy and a majority of the world’s population, but also individual lives on a personal, physical and emotional level not seen in many, many years.

However, I’m happy to say I have also seen and experienced the incredible resilience and fortitude that all of you have shown during this time.  Although we were not able to physically gather or meet, together we had the flexibility to pivot and use technology to our advantage and move forward with our events and programs. We were able to hold networking and social events; the Alumni Day of SCervice; create new programs, such as the Global Lifestyle Series; bring together alumni from all over the world; and even hold a fantastic annual APAA Scholarship & Awards Gala!  Mostly importantly, we were able to continue to process and review applications and interview students in order to award APAA scholarships.  And although all of these events and programs were held virtually, they were marvelously successful!

I want to thank you for the opportunity to be your APAA president these past two years.  It truly has been an honor and privilege working with you to serve our alumni and students worldwide.  I would also like to thank each member of the APAA board of directors and the APAA staff: Grace Shiba, our executive director, and Angela Teng, our assistant director. Without their hard work, effort and passion, the APAA would not be in such a strong position as it is today.  I have felt their dedication and support throughout my time as president, and I am filled with gratitude and appreciation for their commitment to the APAA.

Our incoming APAA president, Ada Yeh, has assembled a strong leadership team that will continue to take the APAA in a positive direction on all fronts.  I have worked alongside Ada, previously as a board member and in this past year, with her as president-elect, and can confidently say she is gifted with clear vision, passionate enthusiasm and managerial expertise, and so ready to lead our alumni association.  I know the APAA will be in excellent hands with her leadership and guidance.

Thank you again, and please remember that we are strong because we know and have the power of community.  Together we can rise to any need with agility, optimism and dignity.  I wish you all the best going forward.

Please continue to support each other, stay healthy and safe, and FIGHT ON!

Rei Umekubo ’85
USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association Board of Directors