Although most Chancellor’s Distinguished Award winners are notified that they have been nominated, the colleagues of Political Science Department Chair Paul Watanabe, also the director of the Institute for Asian American Studies (IAAS), submitted his recommendation as a surprise, knowing that he would object to special recognition.
In his 33 years at UMass Boston, Watanabe has assumed and excelled in many roles, including hosting the radio talk show Commonwealth Journal, conducting public policy-focused research on Asian American communities through the IAAS, involving students in a project to document the experiences of Japanese students in internment camps, and serving as chair of the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations.
Watanabe says that his approach to service is holistic, explaining, “I think that service and teaching and research can be well integrated together. In fact they feed on each other and enrich each other.”
During Commencement, Chancellor Motley nodded to Watanabe’s sought-after political commentary, thanking him for keeping UMass Boston in the news as “a well-informed, witty, pithy political pundit.”