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
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.
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
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.
Liang ’10 is a film director and storyteller who is known for his short films Afuera, Coming
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
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.