Our story


A brief timeline 

  • 1854 - Yung Wing (pictured right) is the first Asian to graduate from Yale and the first Chinese student to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in the United States.
  • 1960 - Yale’s Asian American population includes Chinese, Korean, and Japanese American students.
  • 1969 - Women are able to enroll at Yale College subsequently impacting the number of Asian American students. The Asian American Students Association, now the Asian American Students Alliance (AASA), is formed.
  • 1970-81 - AASA lobbies for a room in Durfee Hall. After outgrowing the space, they relocate to a basement in Bingham before finally settling on Crown Street. (See Notable alumni for more of the story.)
  • 1990-2001 - Yale’s Asian American population rises 15%. Political, social, community service, and academic groups form.  
  • 2001 - Yale adopts a need-blind admissions policy with a conscious effort to recruit international students. The number of Asian American undergraduate student organizations rises to 15.
  • 2001-2014 - The Asian American Cultural Center continues to be a valuable resource for Asian and Asian American students. The number of affiliated student organizations continue to grow.
  • 2014 - Yale hosts the first Asian American Alumni Reunion.
  • 2015 - The AACC hosts Yale’s first Asian American Studies Conference.
  • 2016 - The AACC opens the Gary Y. Okihiro Library following extensive interior renovation. Okihiro, professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University and founding director of Columbia’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, donated 2,000+ of his personal titles relating to Asian American and comparative ethnic studies. 

Our present vision 

In the tradition of our trailblazing Asian American alumni, we are constantly pushing for cross-cultural unity and dialogue between students of color and the larger Yale community. Asian and Asian Americans make up nearly 20 percent of Yale College and almost half of the undergraduate international student population. We also have a number of graduate and professional students actively involved in our community.

We are committed to being a second home for Asian and Asian Americans, and we believe that our diverse sense of ethnic and cultural heritage is worth celebrating and affirming as part of our identity at Yale. To this end, we are intentional about offering resources that emphasize a shared sense of belonging and a way to elevate the Asian and Asian American narrative.

More than ever, the AACC serves the Yale community by hosting programs and events that facilitate a greater understanding and appreciation of Asian history and culture. Each year, we select a theme to guide our programming. Past themes have focused on the following:

  • Deconstructing the model minority myth 
  • Confronting microaggressions in academic spaces
  • Coping with mental health issues + parental and societal pressure 
  • Understanding intersections of sexual misconduct, race, and culture

This year we continue to live out our mission by examining our how our identity as a Center is shaped by our dynamic positioning within Yale’s campus. We will target issues of holistic wellness, unpack the meaning of balance and self-care in real life, and discuss social engagement on a local level.