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November 17, 2000

UW-RF Student Receives Women of Color Award

Gao Xiong, a senior English education major at UW-River Falls, was recently honored with the "Women of Color" 2000 award for her contributions to the campus community.

Xiong was one of 15 women who received the award at a ceremony and reception held in conjunction with the 25th Annual University of Wisconsin System Womenıs Studies Conference at Madison. Each award recipient represented a campus in the UW system. The award has been a part of the program since 1994.

Xiong said, "Being female and of Hmong ethnicity, I want to be a good leader and demonstrate good and respectable leadership skills so I can be a role model for all students, but especially for young females of minority background. I know that for many young females, college seems so far away and so unreal. I want them to be aware that they can also set high standards and achieve high goals, and that the dream of someday going to college can become a reality."

Xiong is a key student staff member in the pre-college program, encouraging middle and high school students of color to consider college in their planning for the future.

She has made significant contributions through her leadership at UW-RF, serving as a hall council representative and as president of the Asian American Student Association. In this capacity, she has not only demonstrated her excellent organizational skills, but displayed talent in bringing diverse groups of students together, particularly reaching out to other multicultural student organizations.

Deeply committed to diversity education, she was a founding member of the UW-RF Community Action Theater Troupe, which presents plays, panels, and diversity training sessions for college students. She also initiated a cultural reading program at an area elementary school. Xiong has worked in the admission office where her special interest is in the recruitment of other Hmong women.

UW-RF Chancellor Ann Lydecker said she was pleased that Xiong was recognized for her efforts to strengthen the campus's diversity. "We always welcome an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our students. I'm especially pleased that Gao Xiong has been recognized statewide for her accomplishments."

UW System President Katharine Lyall noted, "The award gives us an opportunity to recognize and support women of color in the UW system and to thank the faculty, staff, students and community leaders who are striving to make our campuses a better place for women of color to work and study."

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