Alumnus Soul Vang creates endowed scholarship, poetry prize

Fresno State News
Fresno State will celebrate trailblazing Hmong-American alumnus Soul Vang for creating an endowed scholarship and annual poetry prize aimed at encouraging students to pursue their passion for writing about the Asian-American experience.
Vang, a poet and educator who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing and a secondary teaching credential from Fresno State, will be honored at a public reception at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, at the Smittcamp Alumni House (2625 E. Matoian Way). Parking is recommended in lots P1 or P2, with a free parking code available by calling 559.278.7082.
The reception will be hosted by Fresno State’s College of Arts and Humanities, with President Joseph I. Castro and his wife, Mary G. Castro, attending. The program will include a poetry reading from Vang. The event will also celebrate the fall 2016 debut of the University’s new minor in Hmong language studies, which has so far attracted more than 100 students through the Department of Linguistics.

“The Soul Vang Scholarship will help to support a new generation of talented Central Valley writers from diverse backgrounds,” President Castro said. “I am inspired by Mr. Vang’s passionate commitment to Fresno State’s mission of educating and empowering students for success. I was honored to provide support for this trailblazing gift.”

An English instructor at Fresno City College, Vang is the author of “To Live Here,” which won the 2014 Imaginary Friend Press Poetry Prize and the first full-length collection of poetry published by a Hmong-American. As an editorial board member of the Hmong American Writers’ Circle, he served as co-editor of “How Do I Begin? A Hmong American Literary Anthology,” published in 2011 by Heyday Books.
Vang was born in Laos to father Nouchue Vang and mother Ying Yang Vang, who protected their children during the Secret War — a 15-year covert U.S. operation in Laos backed by the CIA — …

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