Statement on the TAAF Grant Read

Remembering Betty Lee Sung

The Association for Asian American Studies mourns the passing of Betty Lee Sung, a pioneering scholar and a cherished member of the Asian American Studies community. We are grateful for her decades of scholarship, wisdom, and friendship, and for the countless ways she inspired a generation of Asian Americanists. 

Words like “pioneering” sound cliche but are appropriate in describing Dr. Sung’s impact. Her nine books – from Mountain of Gold: The Chinese in America to Defiant Second Daughter: My First 90 Years – drew thoughtful attention to the understudied Chinese experience in America. She guided several vital institutions, including the Asian American / Asian Research Institute (AARI), which she co-founded. And in her retirement, she continued writing, researching, and raising resources for the study of Asian America. We are proud to have given her our Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.

“Dr. Sung’s scholarship showed us the beauty and complexity of the lives of immigrants in America,” said Pawan Dhingra, President of AAAS. “Above all, she was an unrelenting champion for scholarship and teaching in Asian American studies. She will be greatly missed.”

To learn more about her life, legacy, and memorial services, visit the AARI website.