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Vol 57 No. 12 : June 15, 2005
Vol 57 No. 12 | June 15, 2005
Nishio Receives 2005 Humanitarian Award from NCCJ

Alan Nishio

Alan Nishio, associate vice president for Student Services at CSULB, was one of four honorees presented with the 2005 Humanitarian Award by the Greater Long Beach National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), which recognized all four leaders for their advancement of the mission of the NCCJ, their civic contributions and their life-long commitment to humankind.

Founded more than 75 years ago as The National Conference of Christians and Jews, the NCCJ is a human relations organization dedicated to promoting understanding and respect among all. Long recognized for exceptional work in human relations, NCCJ breaks down the distance between people and builds communities of justice through its initiatives with youth, educators, law enforcement, community and workplace leaders, media and government, and across faith lines.

Nishio was initially hired at CSULB in 1972 to direct the Educational Opportunity Program and two federal programs serving low-income and first-generation college students. He directed these programs for a number of years and expanded the resources and support directed toward this student population. When he assumed expanded responsibilities within the Division of Student Services in 1991, the Office of Educational Equity Services was widely recognized as one of the premier consolidated programs serving underrepresented students in the state.

“I was very proud to have been selected as there are so many deserving individuals in the Greater Long Beach community,” Nishio said. “To join Bob Maxson and Karl Anatol as CSULB recipients of the NCCJ Humanitarian Award is indeed an honor as I hold both of these individuals in such high esteem for their commitment to bettering our community.”

Throughout his career at CSULB, Nishio has had a significant role, both on campus and in the CSU system, in helping to refine student access and retention efforts. With the CSU, he has participated in numerous systemwide committees, including those that helped establish policies in student services programs. In addition, he served as a member of the Educational Equity Policy Advisory Committee for the California Postsecondary Education Commission.

On the CSULB campus, Nishio has been actively involved in the university’s enrollment management efforts. As a member of the President’s Enrollment Planning Committee, he is responsible for the development and communication of enrollment policies that impact entering CSULB students. Nishio also serves on the executive committee of the Long Beach Educational Partnership, the award-winning body that coordinates seamless education initiatives between CSULB, Long Beach City College and the Long Beach Unified School District.

In continuing his commitment to campus diversity and educational equity, Nishio was a founding member and continues to serve on the university’s Campus Climate Committee and was instrumental in initiating CSULB’s first multicultural student leadership retreat in 2001. He serves as a faculty member in the Asian/Asian American Studies Department and teaches a seminar class addressing public policy issues in the Asian Pacific American community.

“I was fortunate to have gone to college during the midst of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. As a student at UC Berkeley, I became active in efforts to open and expand opportunities for students of color and low-income students to attend college,” Nishio pointed out. “I grew up in a community where very few individuals went on to college and gained an appreciation of the importance of a college education as a vehicle for social and economic mobility. The values that I gained as a student have continued to guide my professional life at CSULB.”

Still, Nishio has been equally as involved in community service activities outside of the CSU. Most notably was his involvement in the successful campaign to gain redress for Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II. As a founder and chairperson of the National Coalition for Redress/Reparations, Nishio, who was born in the Manzanar internment camp, played an instrumental role in this historic campaign.

His other community service activities include serving as a board member and immediate past president of the Greater Long Beach chapter of the NCCJ. He is president of the board of the Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC), for which he has been a board member for 25 years. LTSC is a community development corporation that serves individuals living and working in downtown Los Angeles and is recognized as the leading Asian Pacific American community development corporation in the region. He is also a member of the California Japanese American Community Leadership Councils and chairs the California Japantowns Preservation Committee, which is focused on the historic preservation of the three remaining Japantowns in the United States located in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose.

"I think it is very important that we all remain engaged in our communities,” Nishio said of his community involvement. “The quality of our lives, and the others with whom we interact, is directly related to how much we give back and become involved in community service.”

As a result of his involvement in community activities, Nishio has been recognized with a number of awards, including the Long Beach NAACP Freedom Fund Award, the League of United Latin American Citizens Educational Services Award and the LTSC Japanese American Community Services Award.

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