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Rooted in Exchange: UHD and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month


By Hayden Bergman

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM), a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. AAPIHM encompasses and celebrates all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island). Join us in paying tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America's history and future success, and read on to learn how the AAPI community has partnered with UHD in recent years.

Growing as an Anchor Institution 

In 2021, President Loren J. Blanchard announced the UHD Institutional Compass, a plan that guides the University toward a better academic, social, and cultural future. One point of that compass is “Growing as an Anchor Institution,” a charge and rallying cry for students, faculty, and staff to immerse themselves in the community as an engaging and unifying force, and to act as key players in civic engagement and service.  

Part of that effort includes engaging with representatives of Houston's unique mix of local and international citizenry, such as the AAPI community, and leveraging their unique perspectives and talents to grow UHD as an anchor institution in Downtown Houston. 

Immersive Partnerships 

In 2023, UHD’s leadership hosted a delegation from Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, the only university in Taiwan devoted to language education. Too, a cohort of 21 Taiwanese police cadets from the Central Police University in Taiwan visited campus. While here, they stayed Downtown near the College of Public Service and studied American policing and the criminal justice system, while also visiting sites like the Harris County Jail, the Harris County Civil Courthouse, and the Houston Port. 

UHD also has deep and longstanding ties with Taiwanese entrepreneurs. The Dr. Yung-Fa Chang Endowment, a $2 million gift established in 2012 by Yung-Fa Chang, founder and chairman of the Evergreen Group, continues to fund UHD students’ educational and professional aspirations. 

President Blanchard also attended the Asia Society’s Tiger Ball to support the bridges being built among the cultures of Asia, UHD, and Downtown Houston, as well as continue his work in expanding partnerships with Asian universities. 

Looking Ahead 

May was chosen for AAPI month to commemorate the first Japanese person to immigrate to the U.S. In honor of that first exchange (and all those subsequent), UHD celebrates AAPI month and continues to engage the AAPI community as part of our role as an anchor institution. Without their contributions, UHD’s status as an engine of cultural and economic exchange in Downtown Houston would not be possible. 


About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.