UBC ACAM Centennial Alumni Project (2015-2016)


Yesterday, 100 years of stories converged into a single hour, a collection of moments of time’s standstills.
Standing up there with a loss for words, off script, overcome.
This last year I connected with many because of this work. But I know we are bound much deeper than that, than the colour of our skin or our accented tongues. It is unbridled commitment, indomitable resilience, trust, hope.
It is because of the community’s sacrifices that we at ACAM get to do the humbling work we do. It is why I know I will spend my life seeking avenues for the voices on the periphery to come into focus.
These snapshots are a peek into a rich narrative of Asian Canadian existence, bursting at the seams waiting to be recognized in the imagination of our history- a shared history. This is less than a year’s work with a small team, but just imagine what we could do as a larger community committed to sharing our pasts as scaffolding for the future.
And that is my hope. That these snapshots are the beginning of a larger conversation about our Asian Canadian communities and our histories and legacies and hopes. After yesterday’s launch, we can’t wait to share this video series/ research project with you all.
So while this is a dedication to my elders, it is a commitment to my students- all students, my community, colleagues & allies. It is a commitment for the future- our shared future. And so with a full heart on my sleeve, I am grateful.
With thanks,
(May 25, 2016)


The ACAM Centennial Alumni Project looks back on the UBC’s past 100 years to uncover the unknown histories of its Asian Canadian communities. When we talk about UBC having a large Asian student demographic, what kinds of conversations do we have? Over the last 100 years, the university has changed drastically since its first graduating class in 1916. To celebrate UBC’s Centennial, the ACAM Centennial Alumni Project is centred around discovering and sharing stories about the UBC experience from the perspective of earlier Asian Canadian graduates.

Who was the first student of Asian descent to graduate from UBC? Did gender influence who was privileged to attend UBC? What kinds of clubs and sports did students participate in? How did the university respond to its students when WWII broke out in 1942? By collecting the often untold oral histories from the Asian Canadian community and sharing five short video vignettes, the centennial project reveals that some of the issues faced 100 years ago are still relevant to the experiences of Asian Canadian students on campus today. The university’s story began more than 100 years ago and it is still continuing to be written- this time, uncovered and retold from an Asian Canadian lens.

Dominique Bautista (ACAM grad 2015) is fortunate and humbled to be the primary researcher and producer for this research project and film series, shot and edited by Alejandro Yoshizawa, Tyler Mark, and Denise Fong, and supported by ACAM Director, Dr. Chris Lee, Dr. Henry Yu, and other ACAM faculty. Most importantly, this research would not be possible without the trust, commitment, and support or community members.

More information about ACAM and the project can be found here.

Building Community: UBC’s first Asian Canadian and Japanese Graduate

An Act of Grace: UBC’s first Sikh Immigrant Family

Beginning Relationships: Filipino Presence at UBC and Beyond

An Ocean Apart: From Indonesia to Canada

A Doctor Beyond Borders: Fleeing War-torn Vietnam


Separate post on the research journey,  accompanying tweets and pictures coming soon!