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Thanking Mom and Dad

“Parents of the Year” Announced at UC Riverside

Daughter Nominates Her Immigrant Parents for their Generosity and Sacrifice

(May 30, 2003)

William and Shiang Huang accept the Parent of the Year Award

William and Shiang Huang accept the Parent of the Year Award

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — UC Riverside senior May Huang, a business major graduating in June, wanted the world to know about her parents’ sacrifice and generosity, so she nominated them as “Parents of the Year.”

At an evening ceremony Thursday, May 29, William and Shiang Huang bowed humbly as they accepted that title in front of the UC Riverside Alumni Association Annual Meeting. It is the highest honor the UC Riverside Parents Association can give. The Parents Association boasts over 500 families, and is involved in a variety of campus activities.

“We were all proud to honor parents that have sacrificed so much for the good of their children's education,” said Erin Phillips, who works in the Office of Alumni and Constituent Relations.

Here is the essay submitted by May Huang:

"My father immigrated to the United States in 1983 to earn his master's degree in computer science. After receiving his degree, he realized America had many opportunities to offer, and that this was the environment where he wanted to raise his family.

"He sent for my mother who left everything she knew, family, friends, and a stable job as an English teacher. She brought with her only a few belongings, grasped my sister in one hand, me in the other, and set out for America to meet my father.

"They had very little money to begin with, no friends, no jobs, and no green card. However, everything changed...

"Sometime last year, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer which spread over her spine, weakening her backbone. Her health began to spiral downwards. My uncle, Grandma's only other surviving child, lives in Brazil and was unable to afford the trip to see her. My parents did everything in their power, saved up enough money, and sent for my uncle along with two of my cousins.

"My parents learned that my last cousin in Brazil never went to college because my uncle couldn't afford to pay her tuition, and sending her to college meant they needed to hire a replacement worker for their farm. Hearing of this news, my parents arranged to pay for both my cousin's entire college tuition and the amount needed to hire a new worker. They do this in addition to paying for both my sister's and my entire UC tuition without any financial assistance.

"Even with this, they have never considered all the weight on their shoulders as a burden. Unbelievably, they find solace in volunteering. Both my parents help out at our Buddhist Temple whenever there's a big event. They are also members of our temple's choir that does many community events together, including visiting convalescent homes to sing to the elderly. My mother also volunteers with Midnight Mission's mobile kitchen to make sandwiches and distribute them to the homeless on Skid row. She also volunteers for SimplyHelp, an organization created to help the underprivileged by collecting donated used goods and distributing them around the world.

"My parents are looking forward to volunteering more when they retire. They plan to travel to places like Nicaragua, China, and Africa to help out there.

"Through their sacrifices, their unselfishness, they've made a difference in my life, and in the lives of the people they've helped through their volunteering. You see, everything's changed...their struggles and hard work have turned around and changed everyone's lives."

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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