The University of Washington Multicultural Alumni Partnership (MAP) was formed in the spring of 1995 to promote diversity within the Alumni Association and the University community, as well as to encourage students, faculty, and alumni from diverse or disadvantaged backgrounds in their studies and careers.

Newly elected MAP president Carmela Lim recently announced the the organization’s 20th anniversary celebration honorees and its annual “Bridging the Gap” (BTG) breakfast.

Four of these honorees have special links to the local Asian Pacific American communities: Vivian O. Lee, Betty and Paul Patu and Dr. Carol Simmons. For 2014, MAP is providing two of its seven scholarships to UW APA students: Claudette Sambat in International Business and Sarah Teng who is majoring in Social Work. The five additional scholarships will be awarded to Zoraida Arias, Mark Syd Bennett, George Eli Kaufman, Mariama Suwaneh and Leander Yazzie.

Co-emcces for the event are Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos and Rep. Jim McDermott. Honorary Chairs for the BTG Breakfast are The Four Amigos (Bernie Whitbear, Bob Santos, Roberto Maestas and Larry Gossett) represented by Bot Santos and Hon. Larry Gossett.

Lee and Simmons are, jointly receiving the MAP “Dr. Samuel E. Kelly” award from UW President Michael K. Young.

Lee and Simmons have been leaders in MAP for the full 20 years and were major influences in MAPS’ decision to assure that, every year, Asian Pacific Americans are honored for their lifetime achievements at the annual BTG Breakfast. They have also been continuous MAP scholarship selection committee members and a major force in establishing the policy that APA students must be represented among the MAP scholarship recipients. Vivian and Carol led the MAP committee that established the MAP Endowment Fund, which has over $645,000 and, again, has language that ensures that UW APA students will share in the scholarships annually.

MAP said in a statement:

Vivian O. Lee is a Public Health Administrator who has, over many years, committed her life to helping assure access to health care and higher education and many of her extensive years of service have positively impacted services and access in the Asian Pacific American community. For example, 1) When she observed that few nurses of color were being selected for newly established OB/GYN nurse practitioner training although the clinics were serving ever increasing clients of color, she established a policy that gave priority in training to nurses of color, including Asian nurses. Her training program graduated some of the first Asian Americans trained as nurse practitioners in the US, like Jan Kubota, Karen Matsuda, Eliane Dao and Michi Kondo. She also collaborated with Karen Matsuda as a nurse-trainer to establish the first continuing education program in the US for those new practitioners. 2) When SE Asian Immigrants became an increasing part of our population, Vivian collaborated with Frank Irigon. Karen Matsuda Dr. Barbara Lui, a local Researcher and the International Community Health Services (ICHS) and she provided the resources to, as a first step, conduct the largest household research study of Asian women’s health needs in the United States. A number of recommendations, both educational and clinical, came from that study and were widely circulated free to health care providers nationally. Vivian, then, secured funding for ICHS to provide additional services to its population and for this clinic to provide the first local and regional training sessions for Oregon, Washington and Idaho health providers to disseminate information on culturally sensitive and appropriate services to Southeast Asian immigrant women and for the development of the first clinical materials, both printed and audio visual, in a variety of Asian languages to include the new SE Asian refugees and be used locally and disseminate throughout the Northwest. 3) Her work at the UW has also benefited Asian/Pacific American populations ; especially by co-founding MAP with Dr. Larry Matsuda and focusing MAP on promoting equal educational opportunity for underserved Asian and Pacific American populations and creating a new link for our communities of color to the UW and the UW Alumni Association.. Vivian received a “Top Contributor Award” from the NW Asian Weekly Foundation in 2006

Dr. Carol M. Simmons is an educator and retired Seattle Public School Administrator who has volunteered in numerous activities that have benefitted the Asian Pacific American Community. In her capacity as an educator, during her career and in her retirement, she has been a tireless advocate for underrepresented students. Her work has focused, in part, on issues of equity and access for Asian Pacific Islander students and also for bilingual students. Dr. Simmons co-chaired the Seattle Public Schools South Pacific Island Educational Task Force for years and has been an active member of the Citizens for Effective Educational Administration (SEASE). More recently, Simmons has fought to save the Native American art murals at the Wilson Pacific School and she has been a vocal critic of the push to lower academic standards in the Seattle Public Schools. She continues to volunteer her time on various school district committees and testifies at school board meetings on the issue of equity for all students. She has marched, protested, boycotted and applauded various educational equity issues. Simmons advocacy for the underserved and underrepresented has shaped her commitments to the UW community as well. She has served as a board member, BTG committee chair, treasurer and advisor for MAP and made MAP a family affair, recruiting her husband Dr. Jim Simmons, a retired principal, and her son, Justin Simmons, to play active roles in the life of the organization and the BTG. For her efforts, Simmons has received numerous awards from the Seattle Public Schools and other educational institutions, the Bilingual Programs Merit Award in 1978 and a Friendly Island of the South Pacific Award in 1989

Paul and Betty Patu are receiving a Distinguished Community Service Award for dedicating their lives to the education and advocacy of all underrepresented students but particularly students from the oft overlooked Samoan Pacific Islander community. The Patus have worked for many years in the Seattle Public School District, increasing educational opportunity, equity and excellence in the Southeast region of schools. In their long careers, Betty and Von Paul Patu have each created drop-out prevention programs for Asian/ Pacific Islander students of all age groups, providing counseling, after-school tutoring and support that meant the difference between graduation and attrition. For over thirty years, Von Paul Patu directed the South Pacific Islander Intervention & Resource Services for the Seattle Public Schools, establishing after-school programs at schools like Rainier Beach High School and its feeder schools. Betty Patu created the internationally recognized South Pacific Drop-Out Prevention Program in 1988, a program lauded by the New York Times in 1992. After working in the Seattle Public Schools for 32 years as a teacher at Cooper Elementary, Rainer Beach High School and other schools, Betty Patu was elected to the Seattle School Board as Director of District 7 in 2009. As Betty suggests of her hands-on approach with “her kids” as she calls them, “In our [Samoan] culture, there’s no ‘I’ in our vocabulary,” she said. “It’s always ‘we.’ Everything you do, you do it together as a unit.” Betty’s ethos joins Von Paul’s philosophy, that “the way to becoming a leader is through loyal and faithful service.” Together, they have inspired many community-based initiatives, changing the lives and prospects of those around them.

For more information and registration for the October 25 Bridging the Gap Breakfast, contact (206) 543-0540 or visit

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