As I quickly scribbled notes into my notebook, Dr. Ng sits calmly in his chair across from me. He talks about his excitement in visiting South Korea and japan fro the next few weeks. Feeling lucky that I was able to catch him for a quick interview, he was going to take off the next day.
As dr. Ng ends his career at Fresno State, he leaves behind a wonderful legacy for all who’ve known him. Whether a staff member, faculty, or a student who sat through one of his Asian American classes, his contribution to the university is one that will be challenging to replace.
He is a faculty member in the department of Anthropology and specializes in areas such as Asian American Studies and East Asian studies.
Dr. Franklin Ng was born in the Chinatown area of Honolulu, Hawaii. He as the first in his family to finish primary school, high school, and college. “Each time I went to graduate school, I went to a colder and colder area,” he jokingly said. nearly completion of his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, he calls talking to his advisor about applying for a teaching position at Fresno State.
Taking the chance thought feeling a bit unprepared, Dr. Ng later found that he got the job. “I didn’t go to my own graduation, I just finished my dissertation and flew out here,” he said as laughed.
Living in an apartment on Fresno and Barstow avenues when he first came to Fresno, California, he would take the bus to his job and talk to students who were familiar with the city. He also recalls when there were protests about the Vietnam War and how the Asian demographic has changed over time. As the only Asian faculty member born in the United States, he became an advisor to many different Asian student organizations and programs on campus. He was an advisor for the Singapore Collegiate club, Hong Kong Club, Amerasia, and the Asian Pacific Review.
Teaching on campus, he and a few other faculty members and instructors followed in the footsteps of individuals like the late economics professor, Dr. Izumi Taniguchi, in the development of more Asian American Studies courses. In doing so, Dr. Ng helped to expand and teach more Asian American classes there after.
An advocate in education, Dr. Ng hopes to teach the campus and the Fresno community in understanding more about the different cultures of the world. A former Amerasian advisor, one of the biggest project events he helped students with was Amerasian Week. Amerada holds a week long event in dedicating each night to a different ethnic Asian group. Some of these nights include Japanese culture night, Hmong night, and Lao culture night.
“There are n rewards for this but we should educate people about who their neighbors are whether they are Hmong, Lao, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Chinese, or Filipino,” Dr. Ng says. “This is a way of promoting cross-cultural education.”
In closing his career at Fresno State, on Saturday, April 2, 2016, Dr. Ng was recognized on Amerasia’s final night of Amerasian Week. He was tanked for his contributions to the student organization and for his achievements in teaching at Fresno State.
In ending the interview, I asked how his first day of teaching was like. “I thought it was pretty warm, compared to Chicago, and it was very sunny,” he said.