WPU Recognized for Service to Asian Americans and Native American Pacific Islanders

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Colleges & Universities, Western

By Jennifer Boehmer

Warner Pacific University (WPU) is proud to announce it has received the Asian American and Native American Pacific islander (AANAPISI) designation, by the US Department of Education. The new federal status will be added to WPU’s current status as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI)—a designation it was the first university to achieve in Oregon and has held since 2018. Both the AANAPISI and HSI statuses are among several designations that comprise the Minority Serving Institution programs supported by the US Department of Education. WPU is the only Christ-centered university in the Pacific Northwest with a minority-serving mission.

“As a Christ-centered university, we couldn’t be prouder to serve a diverse student body,” said WPU President Dr. Brian Johnson. “To us, it is exactly in keeping with the Biblical mission we have to equip every single student who comes to us with the ability to lead purpose-driven lives. And while we never reduce students to a box to be checked, we are honored to be a place diverse students are choosing, and to lift up families who have historically been shut out of ample access to great higher education.”

Having AANAPISI designation not only acknowledges the large, diverse population of Asian American and Pacific Islander students who attend and graduate from Warner Pacific, but also allows WPU to apply for outside funding that will aim to expand and improve the overall quality of experience for Asian American and Pacific Islander undergraduate, first-generation, and low-income students. AANAPISI designation, together with WPU’s Hispanic Serving Institution status further positions WPU to be recognized as the premier MSI in Oregon. Such recognition also provides new opportunities for WPU students and to help recruit incoming students from the state of Oregon and beyond.

Student Juwlyzae (“JuJu”) Williams serves as WPU’s student body president and identifies as Asian American. She grew up in Oahu, Hawaii, with a very close-knit family. She says WPU feels like an extension of her home culture. “Coming in as a transfer student from a non-Christian school and having people that not only relate to my faith but also my culture really makes me feel like I belong,” she said. “These two factors working together helped me have the support and confidence to get involved in things like student leadership, serving on the ministry team as Student Chaplain, playing on the Women’s Volleyball Team, and participating in our AAPI Club. Here, I am bringing the fullest version of myself so I can become the fullest version of myself.”

To obtain the AANAPISI designation, an institution must have an enrollment of undergraduate students that is at least 10-percent Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander (AAPI) and meet other requirements based on Pell Grant-eligible students and have what the US Department of Education considers low educational costs. Native American Pacific Islanders are defined as descendants of the Aboriginal people of American islands in the Pacific Ocean (Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands). Based on Spring 2022 enrollment, AAPI students made up 12.3 percent of WPU’s campus enrollment.

Warner Pacific University’s clarity of purpose as a Christ-centered university is at the heart of our enduring strength. For nearly 90 years, the university has educated world-ready graduates—people of character, credentials and competence—with a liberal arts, urban experience from our home campus in Southeast Portland, on the hillside of Mt. Tabor Park. As the only federally designated Minority Serving Institution in Oregon, we believe every student deserves an opportunity to earn high-quality degree that offers a clear path to civic engagement, spiritual enrichment, economic security, and success. WPU offers associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, in more than 35 majors, and offers residential, traditional programs, as well as post-graduate and online instruction. WPU Knights Athletics include championship soccer, as well as basketball, softball, volleyball, and e-sports.

Feature (top) photo: JuJu Williams.

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