Year After Fight for Tenure, UCLA Prof Gets Center Post

Scarcely a year after an anti-discrimination battle with UCLA turned associate professor Don Nakanishi into a sort of folk hero among Asian-American activists, the university has appointed him director of its Asian American Studies Center.

“I think it sort of indicates how different things can be in a year,” he said.

A Japanese-American born and raised in East Los Angeles, Nakanishi was granted a lifetime position at the Graduate School of Education in May, 1989, after a much-publicized, three-year fight over his initial denial of tenure. He and his supporters alleged that the denial was racially motivated.

Nakanishi, who will divide time between his new post at the center and teaching and research at the graduate school, said he is finally getting back into a normal routine.


“I probably had one of the most productive years I’ve ever had,” said Nakanishi, who is continuing his pioneering research on Asian-American voting patterns and university admissions. “I must have written about seven articles, and I gave a lot of speeches. I got invitations to speak from all over the country.”

His battle for tenure, which was joined by hundreds of Asian-Americans who lobbied, raised money and picketed in his behalf, may have also worked in his favor when he interviewed for the directorship of the prestigious center, he added.

“I told (the interviewers) I wouldn’t have fought so hard to stay here, if, in fact, I didn’t want to,” said Nakanishi, who was associate director of the center from 1985 to 1987. “I believe I deserve to be here. I want to be here.”

Nakanishi said he plans to diversify the center’s faculty, adding members from unrepresented Asian-American groups, such as Koreans, Filipinos and Pacific Islanders, continue to build archival history and art collections and “maintain the preeminence of this center as the premier research center on Asian-American studies.”


Northrop University has appointed Pacific Palisades resident Alfred Ingersoll as its distinguished professor of engineering.

Ingersoll, who joined the university in 1987 as a special assistant to the president, is a former manager of human resources development for Bechtel Operating Services Corp.

Santa Monica dentist Dave Famili received the Academy of General Dentistry’s Fellowship Award during a special ceremony in San Francisco.

Famili, a USC graduate, completed more than 500 hours of continuing education over the last 10 years and passed the fellowship examination to qualify for the award.


The Rotary Club of Westchester has elected Dr. Jay Sehdeva, a cardiovascular surgeon, as its president for 1990-91.

Originally from Patalia, India, Sehdeva was also recently elected president of the city of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission.

Sehdeva, a Rotarian since 1973, lives in Playa del Rey with his wife, Dr. Pash Sehdeva, an obstetrician and gynecologist, and 14-year-old son, Paul.

Santa Monica College student Angelica Bridges will represent California in the Young Miss of America competition this month at the Radisson Hotel in Palm Springs.


Bridges, 19, a Westwood resident, won the state title in June.

Culver City chiropractor Norman Marback has received the California Chiropractic Assn.'s annual Botterman Award for his community service work.

For the past several years, Marback has organized scoliosis screenings in the Culver City Unified School District, has served as a board member for the Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital and Exodus Recovery Systems, a chemical dependency and prevention program, and has participated in local health fairs and career days.

The Beverly Hills Women’s Network installed Elizabeth St. James, vice president of the Gans Corps., as its 1990-91 president during a ceremony at the St. James Club in Los Angeles.


The network, established to promote and support professional and business women, also installed: Denise Lowe, first vice president; Judy Yaras, second vice president; Barbara Neiman, treasurer, and Sherry Morgan, secretary.

St. James succeeds Linda Blakeley.