The Asian Languages and Cultures Graduation and Awards Ceremony was held this year on Wednesday, April 26, in the Rackham Graduate School. Nearly 150 faculty, staff, students and their families attended to help recognize those who were receiving department awards or being recognized as part of the Class of 2017.

The ceremony began by acknowledging promising students within each of our language programs. These students have stood out amongst their peers this year in both their academic and extracurricular pursuits. The 2017 language award recipients were: 

Chinese Language

Matthew Barnett and Emily Weinstein

Japanese Language

Robin Griffin and Nicolas Suarez

Korean Language

Iris Fue

South Asian Language

Yusuf Ahmed (Bengali)

Brianne Yeskey (Hindi)

Malika Sachdev (Punjabi)

Deepasri Prasad (Sanskrit)

Sara Farooqui (Urdu) 

Southeast Asian Language

Christian Paneda (Filipino)

India Solomon (Indonesian)

Nuramani Saiyidah Binti Ramli (Thai)

Elizabeth Hentschel (Vietnamese) 

Our department chair, Professor Donald Lopez, also had the privilege of presenting the sixth annual Philip Thomas Lincoln, Jr. Memorial Endowment Fellowship to Rebecca Bloom, a Buddhist Studies PhD student.  This fellowship is named for a 1964 LSA graduate, Philip Lincoln, Jr., who was a career diplomat with the U.S. State Department from 1966 to 1996. He dedicated his life to the betterment of relations between the United States and the countries of Asia, especially China. The Lincoln Fellowship is given to one ALC graduate student a year to assist in funding a proposed research trip abroad. This award is being used by Rebecca in the completion of her dissertation research, which is the first to document three Tibetan murals inspired by the largely forgotten Thirteenth Dalai Lama. 

Megan Cansfield, a graduating Asian Studies senior, was recognized as the 2017 Charles and Myrl Hucker Award recipient. The Charles and Myrl Hucker Award was created as a tribute to the scholarly and collegial legacy left behind by Charles O. Hucker, a Professor of Chinese in the department from 1965-1983. It also recognizes the great support and friendship he received from his wife, Myrl. The Hucker Award is given annually for the best China-focused essay written in an Asian Languages and Cultures course.

This year’s ceremony saw the presentation of the second annual Kristin Carosella Memorial Fellowship. Kristin Carosella was a member of the University of Michigan’s Class of 2013, earning bachelor’s degrees from the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures. Upon graduation, she pursued a career teaching English to school-age children in China before her death in September 2014. Through generous donations from the Liberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, the Center for Japanese Studies, the Nam Center for Korean Studies, the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, the Department of Anthropology, and the Dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, this fellowship has been established in perpetuity to honor her life and to inspire other students to pursue service to others through teaching in Asia. The recipient of this year’s Kristin Carosella Memorial Fellowship was Sara Cusack. Sara, a dual major in Asian Studies and Cognitive Science, will be moving to China this summer to teach English. 

Our ceremony concluded by focusing on the graduating Asian Studies majors. This year’s class of forty-three graduates exemplified the diverse range of academic interests represented in the many areas of study our department offers. We are proud to have twenty-two Chinese Studies graduates, fourteen Japanese Studies graduates, five Korean Studies graduates, one South Asian Studies graduate, and one Southeast Asian Studies graduate this year. The attending students were called in succession to the stage and received a small gift from the department. As he does every year in his address to our graduates, Professor Lopez encouraged them to live a life in which they give to others and to reflect on their time at the University of Michigan fondly, as they are now part of its history.

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures wishes to extend its sincerest congratulations to all of our awardees and graduates this year. Thank you for taking part in this special day.