“I arrived in West Lafayette on a cold and quiet winter day,” says Ryan Tedjasukmana (AAE’13, MS’15). “When classes started, Purdue turned into this melting pot of people from different backgrounds and unique upbringings. Some of them became my very best friends.”
When Tedjasukmana attended Purdue, the Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center (AAARCC) was just starting to make an impact. “I followed the news about it a little bit during its formation, starting at the Stewart Center location,” Tedjasukmana says. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, I attended some online events and realized the importance of Asian American and Asian resources on campus. The AAARCC is a support system for students of Asian descent, which is very personal to me.”
A longtime supporter of the center with a passion for helping others, Tedjasukmana has established a scholarship endowment to support students involved with the AAARCC. The scholarship will help recipients further their professional development while encouraging academic excellence.
“Giving has long been a part of my identity,” Tedjasukmana says. “I believe it started with seeing my father involved in various nonprofit organizations in addition to his professional and family obligations. I’ve been following in his footsteps in many ways. It’s satisfying to lead not just in your workplace or your home but also in your community.”
“The AAARCC opened in the spring of 2015 to weave the experiences of Asian and Asian American communities into Purdue’s campus,” notes Pamela Sari, the center’s director. “Asians and Asian Americans are the fastest-growing minorities in the United States.”
Like all cultural centers at Purdue, the AAARCC serves the entire campus. “For those who identify as Asian or Asian American, our hope is that the AAARCC will help them learn more about their heritage and find a sense of belonging on campus,” Sari says. “For those who don’t identify as Asian or Asian American, the AAARCC is a place of learning where they can enhance their intercultural competencies and skills.”
Sari has known Tedjasukmana since he was a student and appreciates his continued engagement. Tedjasukmana was recently honored as a champion of the center at the AAARCC’s annual keynote event for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. He now also serves on the leadership board of the recently launched Purdue Asian Alumni Network as events cochair. A proud Boilermaker, he plans to stay connected with Purdue and its students, encouraging them to “have fun, make connections, and continue learning after graduation.”