ACDC ‘GraduAsian’ event honors Nevada’s Asian American Pacific Islander college graduates

Actor Simu Liu serves as special keynote speaker for the online event along with Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Sandra Douglass Morgan

LAS VEGAS — The Asian Community Development Council (ACDC) hosted its Spring 2020 GraduAsian event on Saturday, May 16, to celebrate the achievements of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) college graduates in Nevada. Coinciding with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the online event featured special guests and keynote speakers including actor Simu Liu and Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Sandra Douglass Morgan.

Since its inception in 2015, ACDC has worked to educate, connect, and empower the AAPI community in Nevada. On top of the community programs and services it provides, ACDC holds a GraduAsian event each semester to highlight AAPI college graduates. This was the first virtual ceremony put on by ACDC in an effort to recognize graduates as commencement events were cancelled across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sponsored by NV Energy, COX, and US Census 2020 and presented in partnership with UNLV Roaring Our Asian Rights (ROAR), GraduAsian recognized students from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, College of Southern Nevada, Nevada State College, University of Nevada, Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College. All graduates who registered for GraduAsian received personalized congressional certificates signed by the Nevada federal delegation.

The guest speakers representing the Nevada delegation were U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen, Congresswoman Dina Titus and Congresswoman Susie Lee.

Nevada State Treasurer Zach Conine, Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones, and Nevada State College President Bart Patterson also delivered live remarks during the virtual ceremony.

ACDC also asked a number of special guests to record surprise messages for the stand-out graduates. These guests are Jan-ie Low, Commissioner for the White House Initiative for Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders, Lisa Song Sutton, U.S. Congressional Candidate & Former Miss Nevada, Comedian/Youtube Star Ryan Higa, Steve Aoki,
International artists/Musician, Gregory Lee, Chairman/CEO Eureka Casino Resorts, and Rochelle Nguyen, Nevada Assemblywoman District 10.

Celebrity keynote speaker actor, Simu Liu joined the event live from Australia where he is currently working. Liu will star as Marvel’s first Chinese superhero and titular character in Marvel’s highly anticipated SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS. The film will be released in May 2021 coinciding with the release of Liu’s memoir published by HarperCollins. Liu currently stars in the hit comedy series, Kim’s Convenience.

“The universe is giving you the time and the means to own your dreams and take those first steps towards fulfilling them,” Liu told graduates during the ceremony. “So taste, try, fail, learn, fail again, and fail some more. Failing is actually fun when you are doing something you actually feel incredibly passionate about. The road ahead is anything but easy, but overcoming adversity as you pursue that what you most desire, now that’s the definition of an American dream.”

Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairwoman, Sandra Douglass Morgan, also gave an inspirational keynote message, telling the graduate the importance of staying agile and resilient in the world we live in today.

“I encourage all of you to celebrate and support each other as we navigate through these unprecedented times,” said Chairwoman Morgan. “Although all of our wish this ceremony was in person, no doubt that we will emerge from this shared experience stronger and united in purpose more than ever.”

Immediately after the GraduAsian ceremony, ACDC hosted a live panel called “Career 101: Navigating the New Normal”. The guest panelists were Maggie Hsu with Amazon Web Services & Co-Founder of the Gold House Collective along with Joon Kim, Partner at New Paradigm Strategy Group. The conversation focused on advice to new grads as they enter one of the most volatile job markets in history, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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