A sold-out crowd of more than 230 alumni, friends and administrators celebrated Lisa Yang ’74 at the Cornell Asian Alumni Association’s (CAAA) 22nd annual banquet Feb. 2 at Manhattan’s Golden Unicorn Restaurant.
Yang, a retired investment banker who devotes much of her time to the Deveraux Foundation, one of the nation’s top mental health organizations, established the K. Lisa Yang Scholarship Fund for Undergraduate International Students at Cornell. She has also supported the ILR Employment Disability Institute.
Introduced by ILR Dean Harry Katz, Yang spoke about the difficulties of adjusting from life in Singapore to Ithaca in the early 1970s and how, as a mother, her life has been defined by autism, a syndrome that affects two of her children.
“The mark of an advanced civilization is sympathy,” she said. Yang encouraged the audience to “give back and help those whose lives we touch.”
The banquet, celebrating the Year of the Snake, also marked the granting of CAAA’s 54th, 55th and 56th scholarships to undergraduate students.
Among the various letters of greetings that the CAAA received was one from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “The ties between New York City and Cornell have always been strong, and our partnership with Cornell Tech will only make them stronger. Together, we are happy to applaud the members of CAAA for making their alma mater proud, and we look forward to all of you continuing to give back and helping build an even better city in the years to come.”
Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), the first Asian-American elected to Congress from the Northeast, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer also sent well wishes.
Also attending the banquet were Provost Kent Fuchs, Vice President Susan Murphy, Dean of Students Kent Hubbell, trustee Chair Robert Harrison, the deans of three colleges and numerous trustees and Cornell University Council members.
Entertainment was provided by the Cornell Lion Dance, the Cornell Filipino Association and Columbia University’s Jhatka Bollywood Dance Troupe.
Matthew Palumbo ’83 is the co-chair of Speakers Committee of the Cornell Club in New York City and a member of CAAA’s Advisory Board.