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First Asian American CA Supreme Court Justice To Be Honored


Los Angeles — California Supreme Court Justice Joyce Kennard ’71, MPA & JD ‘74 and United States-Japan Council President Irene Hirano-Inouye ’70, MPA ‘73 are among the honorees at the 2010 USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association Scholarship and Awards Gala: “Foundations of Excellence” on April 9, 2010, at Town and Gown on the university’s downtown Los Angeles campus.
Kennard, the first Asian American to serve on the state’s highest court, will receive APAA’s Distinguished Alumni Award, while Hirano-Inouye, a career community service professional and former APAA board president, will receive the Leadership Award. Christine C. Lee JD ’79, an attorney and a tireless advocate for the Korean American community, will receive the Service Award; and accomplished young film director Ken Ochiai ’06 will be presented the Young Alumni Award.  The 27 outstanding students who received APAA scholarships for the 2009-2010 academic year will also be recognized during the evening’s festivities.
“We encourage all alumni to join in celebrating the professional and personal achievements of this year’s honorees, each of whom exemplifies what it means to be a Trojan,” said Mitchell Lew ’83, MD ’87,  president of the APAA.
Of Dutch, Indonesian and Chinese descent, Kennard became the first Asian American to serve as a Supreme Court of California Justice in 1989; she is the longest-serving justice sitting on the Court.  Kennard was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1986 and elevated to the California Superior Court in 1987.  She was elevated again, in 1988, to the California Court of Appeal. 
Hirano-Inouye has spent more than 35 years in nonprofit administration, community service and public affairs.  She currently serves as the president of the U.S.-Japan Council.  She previously served as the president and CEO of the Japanese American National Museum for 20 years. Hirano-Inouye sits on the boards of the Ford Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Smithsonian Institution.
Lee, an immigration law attorney, currently chairs the USC Korean American Alumni Association.  She is the president of the Korean Community Lawyers Association, an organization comprised of lawyers giving back to their community by sponsoring pro bono clinics and educational seminars.  She also helped organize a law school day showcasing various universities, including USC, to potential law school applicants.   
Born and raised in Tokyo, Ochiai is a director whose short films, commercials and music videos have garnered awards from the Directors Guild of America, the First Look Film Festival, the San Giovanni International Film Festival and the Short Shorts Film Festival. He also won both the Tokyo Mayor Award and the Japanese Bumon (category) Grand Prix Award for his movies Isan (Heritage) and Half Kenneth.   
"This year’s gala promises to be another memorable event. Our alumni and scholars are a source of great pride and deserve to be recognized," said Ellen Endo-Dizon ’67, this year’s APAA Gala chair.
Funds raised at the event directly benefit current and future USC students through APAA programming and the scholarship endowment. The Gala begins at 6 p.m. with a silent auction and reception, followed by dinner and program at 7 p.m.  Tickets may be purchased by visiting  For more information, call (213) 740-6380.
The USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association connects USC alumni of Asian Pacific descent (encompassing ethnicities from Asia and the Pacific Rim) with USC and one another lifelong and worldwide through programs that cultivate and enrich the human mind and spirit.
Contact:  Grace Shiba at (213) 740-4937 or



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