Filipino American activist Frank Irigon wins Washington’s Odegaard award

Frank Irigon Washington's Odegaard award
Francisco “Frank” Irigon is the 2022 recipient of the Charles E. Odegaard Award of the University of Washington (UW). Photo from UW

Filipino American community activist Francisco “Frank” Irigon has been named the 2022 recipient of the University of Washington’s Charles E. Odegaard Award, the highest achievement in diversity at the university.

Irigon was recognized for his decades-long social activism and leadership in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and was announced the winner of the award by the University of Washington Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D).

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Born in Fort McKinley, the Philippines in 1947, Irigon immigrated to the United States with his family to join his father who was stationed at Fort Lewis, Kansas.

Irigon served in the military and used the GI Bill to attend the University of Washington (UW), where he earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in social work. He was active in anti-war and human rights movements in college and became the first Asian American to serve on the UW student government (ASUW).

Irigon, a self-described product of the 1960s, said his lived experiences during those tumultuous times shaped his political views, inspiring him to do good and be of service to all people pursuing the American dream, according to the UW winner’s announcement on November 22, 2021.

The Fil-Am activist was noted for his involvement in several human rights movements, including initiating and co-leading the protests at the King Dome groundbreaking ceremony and again directing at Housing and Urban Development to demand low-income housing for the residents living in the Chinatown – International District of Seattle.

Irigon now serves on the boards of the Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, the OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates – Greater Seattle Chapter, and the Asian and Pacific Islander Americans for Civic Engagement (APACE). He was also was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service in 2017.

Frank Irigon will be presented with the Odegaard award at the 2022 Celebration event hosted by OMA&D and Friends of the Educational Opportunity Program (FEOP) on May 18, 2022.

Established in 1973, the Odegaard award honors individuals whose leadership in the community exemplifies the former UW president’s work on behalf of diversity.

Filipino human rights advocates and activists who have received international awards for their work include Filipino priest Fr. Flaviano “Flavie” Villanueva who has been named this year’s winner of the Human Rights Tulip Award from the Dutch government and Filipino-Canadian Marichu Antonio who made history as the first Filipino-Canadian woman to win Calgary’s Citizen of the Year award.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to Filipino American community activist Francisco “Frank” Irigon for being named the 2022 recipient of the University of Washington’s Charles E. Odegaard Award, the highest achievement in diversity at the university.

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Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.