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Vietnamese American Alumni Group Reaches Fundraising Goal in Support of the UCI Libraries’ Southeast Asian Archive

The Vietnamese American Community Ambassadors (VACA), a chapter of the UC Irvine Alumni Association, has raised more than $25,000 in support of the UCI Libraries' internationally recognized Southeast Asian Archive.  As part of a joint commitment with Chancellor Michael Drake, UC Irvine will match up to $25,000 raised to help hire an archivist for the Libraries.

A celebration event was held on April 23rd at 5pm in the UC Irvine Langson Library’s Caroline A. Laudati Conference Room to recognize the achievement and the donors who made it possible.

“On behalf of UC Irvine and the Libraries, I congratulate VACA and everyone involved with this tremendous effort to support the Libraries’ Southeast Asian Archive,” said Chancellor Drake. “This has been a wonderful collaboration that will benefit our local Southeast Asian community and scholars for generations to come.”

Originally planned as a temporary archivist position, strong enthusiasm for the initiative inspired the Libraries to create a permanent position to meet the needs of the Southeast Asian Archive and Orange County regional collections. Recruitment for the Archivist for the Southeast Asian Archive and Regional History will begin in late February 2013.  The new archivist will organize, preserve and enhance the collections with the goal of increasing access to these unique materials for the community and scholarly research. 

“I want to express our sincere gratitude to VACA and the many donors who helped make this possible,” said UC Irvine University Librarian Lorelei Tanji. “With their commitment, we are continuing to build on the excellence and reputation of this important archive.”

“VACA is very pleased to have accomplished its joint fundraising goals with UCI for an archivist for the Southeast Asian Archive and Regional History,” said Daniel Do-Khanh, VACA Chair.  “As an alumni and community organization, VACA is honored to have been able to take part in efforts to preserve and grow this important collection for UCI and our surrounding community.

The VACA initiative was launched in December of 2010 in Little Saigon.  Over the following two years, members held numerous fundraisers in the community to increase awareness and support for the initiative. Wells Fargo Bank was one of the first donors to support the effort with a $10,000 gift. Generous donations followed from members of VACA and the community, as well as local companies. A reunion of former members of Project Ngoc in September was instrumental in raising awareness and support, and the fundraising goal was met in November 2012. 

The UCI Libraries Southeast Asian Archive was established in 1987 to document the resettlement experience of refugees and immigrants from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam who fled to the United States (especially California and Orange County) following the Vietnam War. Today, the Archive includes thousands of books, journals and ephemera.  The collection is located in Langson Library in the Department of Special Collections & Archives and the Southeast Asian Archive Reading Room, both of which are open to the public. 

For information on how you can support the Southeast Asian Archive, please contact Cathy Palmer, Acting Assistant University Librarian for Public Services at cpalmer@uci.edu or 949-824-4972.

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(left to right) Chancellor Michael Drake,
VACA Chair Daniel Do-Khanh, and Wells
Fargo Regional President Rob Myers.
Photo Credit: Allan Helmick

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