Asian American Studies

The field of Asian American Studies was created 50 years ago at San Francisco State College and UC Berkeley. Historic student protests there sought to “democraticize” higher education by diversifying the student body and the curriculum.  Many of these first generation college students wanted a “relevant” education, one that included courses that explored the histories, experiences, and cultural experiences of diverse racial and cultural communities. 



UCI, now a federally recognized Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) student serving Institution, and located in Orange County, home to the third largest AAPI population in the country, is an ideal location for the continued growth of Asian American Studies.


  • The UCI AAS Department offers an undergraduate major, minor, a graduate emphasis, and the country’s first 4+1 B.A./M.A. program. Students can complete a B.A. and an M.A. in Asian American Studies in five years! 
  • Our faculty research and courses explore the intersections of race, gender, citizenship, ethnicity, and dis/ability within Asian American histories, communities, politics, and cultural productions.
  • About 1,000 students take courses in Asian American Studies each year!

These achievements reflect the dedication of our alumni. In 1993, the Chancellor’s office and administration building at UCI was occupied in protest by hundreds of students with yellow headbands intent on making a future for Asian American Studies at the university. Thanks to their efforts, UCI’s focus on Asian American students, coursework and faculty has grown tremendously in the last 25+ years.



Led by outstanding individuals who participated in the founding of the department, the newly-formed Friends of Asian American Studies group is a coalition of alumni, staff, faculty and community members that assists our talented students in reaching their full academic potentials. 



Through private philanthropic support, Friends of Asian American Studies hopes to establish the first endowment for the Department of Asian American Studies, supporting students, faculty, and research at UCI in perpetuity. If enough is raised on Giving Day to unlock the challenge gift from Eileen Chun-Fruto and James Lam, they will be able to establish this endowment

Want to join us in meeting our goal? With your help, together our proposed endowment can support:

  • New Fast-Track Scholarships: 4+1 B.A. / M.A.
    A 4+1 scholarship will lessen the financial burden of tuition costs and enable low-income, first generation students to achieve a M.A. degree. Your gift could help endow student scholarships for decades to come!
  • Student travel grants for professional conferences
    Travel grants allow our students to attend professional conferences to present papers and research, network with other academics, and build their professional resume. This investment helps students launch their professional careers and can change their lives. 
  • Internships
    An internship provides a professional opportunity for students to utilize their training in Asian American Studies, partner with community organizations or on-campus academic units and cultivate their leadership and collaboration skills. Internships are a powerful step towards professional success for an early careerist.


This is just a small sampling of the power that your gift can have in the Asian American Studies department. We hope you become a Friend of Asian American Studies and join us in our efforts to raise support for students, faculty, and research. With your help, Asian American Studies at UCI will continue to thrive.

Donor Map
Rank State Gifts
1 CA 32
2 TX 2
3 IL 1
School of Humanities 50 Donor Challenge
Be one of the first 50 gifts made to the School of Humanities and help us unlock a generous $20,000 gift from an anonymous donor.
50 / 50 Gifts
Humanities Asian American Studies Dollar for Dollar Match
All gifts made in support of Asian American Studies on Giving Day will be matched dollar for dollar by UCI alumni Eileen Chun-Fruto and James Lam, up to the first $3,300.
$3,300 MATCHED
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