Pitzer College Names 2020 Alumni Award Recipients and Honors Retiring Faculty

Claremont, Calif. (February 20, 2020)—Pitzer College names Romarilyn Ralston ’14 as the College’s 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient and Steven Liang ’10 as the 2020 Young Alumni Achievement awardee. In addition, this year the Alumni Association began the tradition of honoring retiring professors, starting with Professor of International and Intercultural Studies Joe Parker for his transition to emeritus status.

The Pitzer College Alumni Board selects the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Young Alumni Achievement Award recipients annually after reviewing numerous nominations of exceptional alumni. Ralston and Liang, along with Parker, will be honored at a celebration and awards dinner on Saturday, May 2, during Pitzer College’s Alumni Weekend.

2020 Distinguished Alumni Award: Romarilyn Ralston ’14

Pitzer’s Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes a graduate who boldly puts the spirit of a Pitzer education into action and demonstrates a commitment to making meaningful changes in their community.

Romarilyn Ralston ’14

Romarilyn Ralston ’14 is the program director of Project Rebound at California State University, Fullerton, a program that provides individualized support to assist formerly incarcerated students in pursuing higher education. Ralston, who was incarcerated at the age of 24 and served 23 years in prison, went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in gender and feminist studies as a New Resources student from Pitzer College and her master’s degree in liberal arts from Washington University in St. Louis. She has been awarded a 2014–15 Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, the Mary McLeod Bethune 2016 Leadership Award and the 2018 Civil Rights and Advocacy Award by the Orange County Chapter of the National Coalition of 200 Black Women. She was a 2017 Leadership Fellow with the JustLeadershipUSA Leading with Conviction program, a 2018 Fellow of the Women’s Policy Institute.

2020 Young Alumni Achievement Award: Steven Liang ’10

Pitzer’s Young Alumni Achievement Award recognizes graduates of the last 10 years who apply Pitzer’s unique educational experience to their professional life and find creative and innovative ways to make impactful changes in the community.

Steven Liang ’10. Photo credit: Joe Sherman ’10

Steven Liang ’10 is a film director and storyteller who is known for his short films AfueraComing Home and Falling for Angels. He has also directed two documentaries, A Better Life and Trans Lives Matter National Day of Action. Topics such as resilience, the American dream and underdogs inspire his work. In 2019, Liang was selected to participate in the Ryan Murphy TV HALF Initiative’s Directing Mentorship Program. From 2016 to 2018, his web series was in development at the Warner Bros.-based Stage 13. He is the recipient of the 2017 Film Independent Directing Lab Fellowship, the 2017 Armed with a Camera Fellowship, the 2015 Carl David Memorial Fellowship and the 2013 AbelCine Documentary Grant. He was also a finalist for the 2016 ABC-Disney Directing Fellowship. At Pitzer, Liang was active at CAPAS and worked as an RA at Holden Hall. His senior year at Pitzer, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan. He holds a BA in Asian American studies and communication studies from Pitzer College and an MFA in film directing from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Faculty Honoree: Joe Parker

Joseph D. Parker, Professor of International and Intercultural Studies.

After 30 years of teaching at Pitzer College, Professor of International and Intercultural Studies Joe Parker will be retiring at the end of this academic year. Parker teaches courses in gender and feminist studies in addition to classes in religious studies, media studies, Asian studies and environmental analysis. He also teaches at Claremont Graduate University in cultural studies, women’s studies and religion. He co-founded Pitzer’s International and Intercultural Studies field group and the Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies. Parker is the author of two books, Democracy Beyond the Modern State: Equality in Practice and Zen Buddhist Landscape Arts of Early Muromachi Japan (1336-1573) and the co-editor of Interdisciplinarity and Social Justice: Revisioning Academic Accountability and of a forthcoming book, Spivak Moving. He has penned numerous articles and given dozens of professional presentations. He earned his BA from Occidental College and his MA and PhD from Harvard University.

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility, and community involvement. For more information, please visit www.pitzer.edu.

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