The daughter of Vietnamese refugees, a first-generation Asian American, and USC’s 2019 valedictorian—meet graduating senior Ivana Giang and please join me in congratulating her on this academic achievement in excellence.
A student at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, Ivana helped to create and found the position of co-chief diversity officer in the Undergraduate Student Government. But she didn’t stop there—Ivana effected major change during her time on campus. As an undergraduate, she pushed for cultural sensitivity training, advocated for victims of sexual assault, and held a town hall to discuss the lack of cultural center resources on campus.
“It is only by listening to those that we are trying to help that we can structure a world that will develop most sustainably, according to those communities’ needs. Whether I research to recommend policies or come to teach someday, those values of social justice and anti-oppression will remain core to me,” Ivana said. “The best advice I have ever received is to take responsibility for my own education. If there is truly something that I want to do in this world and I have to learn it before I can do it, then I have to put in the time and effort to become educated about it.”
In a month, Ivana will address thousands of her peers as she delivers her graduation speech. My hope is that her fellow students understand that she is more than the class valedictorian with a dual degree in public policy and global studies; Ivana Giang represents the very best of USC. Ivana leaves behind a legacy of fighting for equality and diversity for her fellow students. So again, please join me in congratulating her on becoming USC’s 2019 valedictorian.
The 136th Commencement ceremony will be held this year on May 10, 2019.
–Michael W. Quick, April 15, 2019