Award recipients in 2017

Lifetime Achievement

Ieoh Ming Pei, known by I.M. Pei, arrived in America in 1934 as a student, an exempt class allowed by the Chinese Exclusion Act. He briefly passed through Angel Island for the processing of his immigration papers. Mr. Pei received a B.A. in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then a M.Architecture from Harvard. He became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. in 1954. His best known works include the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library in Boston, the Grand Louvre in Paris, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Mr. Pei has received numerous awards and honorary degrees, and on July 4, 1986 was one of twelve naturalized American citizens to receive the Medal of Liberty from President Ronald Reagan.




Norman Mineta’s mother Kane was a picture bride who arrived on Angel Island in 1914. He was born in 1931 and with his family, interned in the Heart Mountain incarceration camp as a teenager. After graduating from U.C. Berkeley, Mr. Mineta served in the U.S. Army in Japan and Korea and then joined his father in his insurance agency. He served in the San Jose city council and then became mayor in 1971 and U.S. Congressman in 1975, where he served until 1995. After working in the private sector, he became the first Asian American to serve in a presidential cabinet when President Bill Clinton appointed him to be Secretary of Commerce. Mr. Mineta then became Secretary of Transportation in the administration of President George W. Bush, where he distinguished himself during the events of 9/11. He rejoined the private sector in 2006 with Hill and Knowlton.





Jerry Yang was born as Yang Chih-Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan in 1968. His father died when he was two, and his mother brought Jerry and his brother to San Jose in 1978. He received a B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering from Stanford and while studying there, he and David Filo created a guide to the World Wide Web, which became Yahoo! and achieved great popularity. Mr. Yang served as Chief Yahoo and CEO with the company and was affiliated with Yahoo! until January of 2012. Since that time, he became a mentor to technology startups and started a venture firm, AME Cloud Ventures. Along with a number of corporations, he has served on the Stanford University Board of Trustees. In February of 2007, Mr. Yang and his wife Akiko Yamazaki donated $75 million to Stanford University, partly to build a research, teaching and lab building.




Community Leader

Over sixty years ago, a group of successful entrepreneurs founded the Indian Community Center to cherish India’s heritage and preserve its culture in the U.S. Its mission is to promote Indian culture and values by providing social, cultural, recreational and community programs, thereby uniting the Indian community, and raising awareness about Indian culture in the local community. ICC welcomes all without regard to racial, ethnic, regional, religious, political or socio-economic background, and has a 38,000 square foot center in Milpitas and a 10,000 square foot table tennis center. ICC has a significant focus on community service such as free legal, medical, and career clinics, and extensive senior and teen programs. It has classes that include Bollywood dance, yoga, fitness, language, and college entrance exams.


Community Leader, Individual

Dr. Herbert Yee was born in 1924 in Toishan, Guangdong Province, China. His father, Henry, was working in the U.S. as an herbalist and chiropractor and in 1931 sent his son Paul to China to fetch his wife and sons Herbert and Calvin, leaving daughters May and Song in the care of an aunt (they came to the U.S. two years later). The journey took three weeks, and upon arrival they were sent to Angel Island, where they were detained for a week for interrogations until they were released, and went to the family’s home in Sacramento. Dr. Yee graduated from Sacramento High School and then was accepted to the College of Physicians and Surgeons (then part of Stanford and now part of the University of the Pacific) as a dental student. Dr. Yee has raised funds for many projects in the U.S. and China including a new school in the village where he attended as a child, served as President of the California State Board of Dental Examiners, board member of the California State Railroad Museum Foundation for over thirty years.

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