Champlain College’s Opening Convocation ceremony celebrated top community leader Weiwei Wang as its 2022 Distinguished Citizen.

On Thursday, August 25, Champlain College awarded its 2022 Distinguished Citizen Award to Weiwei Wang, co-founder and director of operations and development of the Vermont Professionals of Color (PoC) Network.

In its 61st year, the Distinguished Citizen Award recognizes and celebrates leaders whose personal and professional achievements exemplify Champlain’s commitment to developing engaged citizens who have made a meaningful impact on their communities.

“We are thrilled to name Weiwei Wang as this year’s Distinguished Citizen. She is committed to building a welcoming, supportive and just community in Vermont,” Champlain College President Alex Hernandez said. “Weiwei is a social entrepreneur whose efforts to lift people and communities is creating positive change across our state.”

Weiwei Wang was awarded the 2022 Distinguished Citizen Award at Champlain College’s Opening Convocation ceremony on Thursday, August 25. Photo by Karen Pike.

The VT PoC Network launched in 2019 to advance the prosperity of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in Vermont. The organization focuses on driving a new era of professional mobility, promoting entrepreneurial ventures, and nurturing a powerful network. Wang also serves on the Champlain College Stiller School of Business advisory board.

“We exist to make sure that you, as students, have access to these individuals so that you can see yourself represented in all careers in Vermont,” Wang said, addressing the BIPOC and Latino students in the audience. “You are not alone here. There is a wealth of community; you just need to ask for it and you don’t have to look far because we are here with you.”

The honor was bestowed during Champlain’s Convocation ceremony, which is held during Orientation and welcomes new students to campus. During the event, Wang shared her perspective as a Chinese-American living in Vermont and how she sought and built a network for herself and others in the BIPOC community.

Wang quoted Yuri Kochiyama, saying, “Life is not what you alone make it. Life is the input of everyone who touched your life and every experience that entered it. We are all part of one another.”

“She is talking about community. And maybe that’s why I am here,” Wang said on stage. “To tell you that you are part of the community here on campus and also of a greater community beyond the walls of Champlain College, because I never want y’all to feel the way that I did [growing up]. Take the opportunity to explore all of it. There is a whole community supporting you. I challenge you to find us and to take that seat at the table.”

Learn more about the the Vermont Professionals of Color (PoC) Network here.

Last year’s Distinguished Citizen recipient was Jane Lindholm, former award-winning voice of Vermont Public Radio.

Kaylee Sullivan

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