Ryan Liu, an Arcadia High School Class of 2013 alumni and Pasadena City College Class of 2015 Valedictorian, has recently been making headlines with President Obama’s Senior White House staffers for his community college advocacy.
Liu is a political science major and first-generation college student who will be continuing his studies at Yale University this fall. He recently urged President Obama to renew his commitment to community colleges in his valedictorian address and in a follow-up piece on Buzzfeed. He was later contacted back by the Executive Director of the First Lady’s Reach Higher Initiative, who then continued to put him in contact with other Senior White House Staffers.
“Community college not only provided me the opportunity to continue my education while financially assisting my family, but it also bestowed upon me the unique prospect of learning from classmates that have overcome unimaginable circumstances in the face of adversity to pursue what should be a natural right: the right to an accessible education,” recounts Liu about his community college experience.
While a Lancer, Liu served on the Associated Students Board as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Council. He was also involved in numerous campus organizations, including the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society and the Honors Scholar Program. Off campus, he is an assistant speech and debate coach for Arcadia High School, and helps manage an e-Commerce business he co-founded. Liu served as a Congressional intern in Washington, D.C. last summer and plans to attend law school and pursue a career in public service or law.
This May, he was named the recipient of the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, which is a $40,000 annual scholarship for the final two or three years necessary to achieve a bachelor’s degree and is awarded to only 90 scholars nationwide. The criteria includes achievement and academic ability, financial need, persistence, leadership, and a desire to help others. The last time a PCC student won the award was in 2007.
“All of this wouldn’t have been possible without PCC. In the fall, when I’ll be attending Yale University, I’ll have in mind what made this opportunity to get an education possible for me and for so many other students: community colleges,” states Liu. “I hope that we can find the political will to continue supporting these wonderful institutions that pride themselves not in selectivity, but in accessibility for all.”
Congratulations and best of luck, Ryan!
— By Emily Zheng