Press Releases

April 1, 2016

Joy Yoo
Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund

APIASF Remembers Asian American Studies Pioneer Don Nakanishi

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Don Nakanishi, a pioneering advocate for Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders (APIA), passed away on March 21 at the age of 66.

Professor Nakanishi was Director Emeritus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Asian American Studies Center and significantly contributed to the advancement of the APIA community. He was a fervent supporter and committed educator. He founded the oldest academic Asian-American journal, Amerasia, and wrote passionately about Asian Americans in politics and education. He gained national recognition for launching Asian American studies as a legitimate field of scholarship, teaching, service and public dialogue.

Nakanishi grew up in East Los Angeles and received his B.A. in intensive political science from Yale University in 1971 and a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard in 1978.

"Don was truly the pioneer in Asian American studies in the US and a very visible advocate and mentor for an entire generation of new Asian American studies leaders and scholars. Don was also a long-time friend and colleague who provided guidance and sage counsel promoting education equity." said Neil Horikoshi, APIASF President & Executive Director. "His leadership at UCLA and passion will be missed and we express our sincerest thoughts and prayers to his family and friends."

Nakanishi is survived by his wife, Marsha, and son, Thomas.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to:

Don T. Nakanishi Award for Outstanding Engaged Scholarship in Asian and Pacific Islander American Studies, UCLA,
Nakanishi Award, c/o UCLA Asian American Studies Center
Box 951546, 3230 Campbell Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1546