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Celebrating Yale Medalist Rockwell Chin (MCP '71)

Updated: Nov 30, 2022


The Association of Asian American Yale Alumni congratulates Rockwell Chin (MCP'71) for receiving the Yale Medal. The Yale Medal is the highest award presented by the Alumni Association honoring outstanding individual service to the University. Recipients reflect the range of service and leadership the Alumni Association strives to recognize with this award.

For five decades, Rocky Chin has been, and continues to be, an incomparable advocate for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, both at Yale and in his home city of New York. Now a retired government civil rights attorney, Chin is a steadfast community organizer who has consistently championed Asian-American issues throughout his lifetime and continues to ardently do so in the light of a recent rise in violence against Asian Americans. As a student at the School of Architecture, he was a co-founder of Yale’s first and oldest Asian American student organization, the Asian American Students Alliance, in partnership with Alice Young ’71 and the late Don Nakanishi ’71 (both Yale Medal recipients). Chin later brought this fierce dedication to his community to his professional life, as a founder of the Asian American Bar Association of New York, a Civil Rights Chair of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and now as a member of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. For Yale, Chin has also served as a member of Yale Alumni Association’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, and as a founding member of the Association of Asian American Yale Alumni (AAAYA). His infectious warmth and keen interest in others have given rise to numerous alumni events and programs, including regular Yale Day of Service projects at Chinatown's Yung Wing School (P.S. 124), named for a Yale 1854 graduate, and the annual Lunar New Year Banquet to fund Yale student summer internships, as well as career mentoring programs and direct personal counseling. Through his singular persistence and ability to build community, these programs continue to flourish.


Rocky was presented with the award by Yale President Peter Salovey and YAA Board of Governors Chair Xiaoyen Huang ('91) at this year's Yale Alumni Association Assembly in New Haven in a ceremony at Commons. Rocky's family, classmates, and fellow AAAYA members were also in attendance to celebrate him.


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