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Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

January 4, 2017

OMA&D Mourns Passing of Alumnus & Community Leader Al Sugiyama

Alan Sugiyama, ’84, a longtime community leader and champion for diversity at the University of Washington, passed away on Jan. 2, at the age of 67 following a two-year battle with cancer.

He was a leader in the Asian Student Coalition when he attended the UW and continued to serve as an activist and advocate for diversity and equity throughout his lifetime.

“Al Sugiyama was a longtime friend and supporter of OMA&D,” said Rickey Hall, vice president for the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity and chief diversity officer. “I had the pleasure of meeting him at the beginning of my tenure this past fall and was immediately inspired. It is clear to see the impact that Al’s commitment to social justice has made both on campus and the community ever since his days as a UW student in the early 1970’s. He will be greatly missed.”

Al Sugiyama (left) with fellow Odegaard Award recipients Vivian Lee and Judge Richard Jones at 2016 Celebration.

CHAMPIONS OF DIVERSITY: Al Sugiyama (left) with fellow Odegaard Award recipients Vivian Lee and Judge Richard A. Jones at OMA&D’s Celebration event on May 5, 2016.

Sugiyama received numerous local and national awards including the 2007 Charles E. Odegaard Award, an honor regarded as the highest achievement in diversity at the UW.  He also received the UW Alumni Association’s Multicultural Alumni Partnership (MAP) Distinguished Alumni Award and served on the UW President’s Minority Community Advisory Committee for several years.

Sugiyama founded the Center for Career Alternatives (CCA), a multi-ethnic job training program serving low-income residents in King and Snohomish Counties, and served as its executive director for over 30 years. Most recently he served as executive director of the Executive Development Institute, an organization that provides training and support to local Asian American leaders. He was the first Asian American on the Seattle School Board.

Sugiyama was remembered in this article in the International Examiner. Learn more about his story on the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project web site.