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Last modified: Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Eugene Eoyang to be presented with IU's Distinguished Asian Pacific American Alumni Award

July 11, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Eugene Eoyang, an author and retired professor from Indiana University and Lingnan University in Hong Kong, will be the 2012 recipient of the IU Asian Alumni Association's Distinguished Asian Pacific American Alumni Award.

The award recognizes outstanding professional achievements and community service of Asian and Pacific American alumni of IU. Eoyang will receive the award in a ceremony from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Lilly Library on the IU Bloomington campus.

Eoyang, professor emeritus of comparative literature and East Asian languages and cultures in the College of Arts and Sciences, also will sign copies of his latest book, "The Promise and Premise of Creativity: Why Comparative Literature Matters (Continuum)."

"I am touched and honored to be designated the 2012 Distinguished Indiana University Asian Pacific American Alumnus," Eoyang said. "I came to IU in 1966 as a graduate student and taught in comparative literature and East Asian languages and cultures for 33 years, in a career which, despite the vagaries of academic life, I have found gratifying and rewarding.

"During my career at IU, I established scholarships or prizes honoring three of my IU mentors and colleagues: Kenneth Yasuda, Irving Lo and Horst Frenz. My wife and I have established two scholarships in the Office of International Services, the Ellen Tsao Fellowship and the Edward W. Lee Fellowship, to honor my mother and my father-in-law," he said. "I'm also a proud contributor to the IU Varsity Club, have been for more than 20 years.

"This award is particularly timely, since it coincides with the publication of my latest book, on comparative literature, which is dedicated to my mentors, colleagues and students in comparative literature at Indiana University," Eoyang added. "I did not know, and couldn't have guessed, that members of the current Comparative Literature Department would have nominated me for the award. That means all the more to me because it reflects the esteem of colleagues I have worked with over the years."

Sophia Travis, president of the IU Asian Alumni Association, and Norris Wang, an IUAAA board member, noted that Eoyang's contributions to the university went far beyond the classroom.

"Professor Eoyang's work on 'the complexities of complexion' in culture abroad, and in America, in his book 'Coat of Many Colors' was prescient of the relevant ways in which Indiana University has improved and sustained diversity programming today," Travis said. "In short, professor Eoyang is a man ahead of his time, and we are all too happy to recognize him today."

Wang added, "Professor Eoyang's dynamic and robust contribution as a great teacher, thinker and personality exemplify the way in which a lifetime contribution to Indiana University continues to enrich many aspects of IU's mission. His longtime connection to Bloomington also deserves commendation."

Since retiring from IU in 2003, Eoyang has remained active, teaching English at Lingnan University until 2008 and conducting workshops in translation at Hong Kong Baptist University each fall since then.

He also undertook several book projects. In addition to his most recent book, he is working on books about the teaching of English, on higher education and on the concept of the self.

Eoyang also is the author of "The Transparent Eye: Reflections on Translation, Chinese Literature, and Comparative Poetics" (University of Hawaii Press, 1993), "Coat of Many Colors: Reflections on Diversity by a Minority of One" (Beacon Press, 1995), "'Borrowed Plumage': Polemical Essays on Translation" (Rodopi, 2003) and "Two-Way Mirrors: Cross-Cultural Studies on Glocalization" (Lexington Books, 2007). He also published an illustrated book written for his grandchildren, "The Smile of a Crocodile: Rhymes for Chloe (and Kyle)" (CreateSpace, 2007).

He also was co-editor of "Translating Chinese Literature" (Indiana University Press, 1995) and the editor and principal translator of "Selected Poems of Ai Qing" (Foreign Languages Press, Beijing; IU Press, 1982).

A vice president of the American Comparative Literature Association from 1993 to 1995, he became the association's president from 1995 to 1997. In 1993, in honor of a senior colleague, he founded and initially funded the Horst Frenz Prize at the American Comparative Literature Association conferences for the best presentation by a graduate student. He convenes the judges for each year's prize.

Eoyang also was co-founder of the journal Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews and one of its co-editors for 20 years.

He was vice president of the Fédération Internationale des Langues et Littératures Modernes and chaired the Intercultural Studies Committee of the International Comparative Literature Association. He is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in London.

Eoyang founded the East Asian Summer Language Institute at IU, which he directed for five years. He also served as associate dean of research and graduate development and the founding editor of Research and Creative Activity. He was a member of the board of trustees of the Kinsey Institute for Research on Sex, Gender and Reproduction, acting as its chair from 1993 to 1995.

Previous winners of the Asian Pacific American Alumni Award have included Judge G. Michael Witte, of Lawrenceburg, Ind.; entrepreneur Anurag Mendhekar of Los Altos, Calif.; Sau-ling Cynthia Wong, of Sunnyvale, Calif., professor emeritus of ethnic studies at the University of California; and Yoshito Kawahara, of San Diego, Calif., former leader of the Asian American Psychological Association.

The IU Asian Alumni Association is an affiliate group of the IU Alumni Association. The IUAA is dedicated to serving the university and its diverse alumni, students and friends. As one of the nation's largest alumni organizations, serving more than 560,000 graduates worldwide, the IUAA provides many programs and services to its members, nonmember alumni and the university. For more information, call 800-824-3044.