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PRESS RELEASE - NOVEMBER 30, 2015

Commencement
American Samoa Congresswoman Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (top right) is seen here with students at one of the many ASCC events she has attended. Aumua will be the keynote speaker at ASCC's 63rd Commencement Ceremony on Friday, December 11th. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)


American Samoa Congresswoman Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (top right) is seen here with students at one of the many ASCC events she has attended. Aumua will be the keynote speaker at ASCC's 63rd Commencement Ceremony on Friday, December 11th. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

Congresswoman Aumua Amata to Speak at 63rd ASCC Commencement

November 30, 2015

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The fall 2015 Commencement Ceremony at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) will take place on Friday, December 11th beginning at 10 a.m. in the College’s Gymnasium. Pending final exam results, 119 students are scheduled to graduate with their degrees and certificates during the Commencement, the 63rd in the College’s history. Honorable Governor Lolo M. Moliga, the Board of Higher Education, and other dignitaries have been invited to join the ASCC community for this special occasion, and the keynote speaker will be American Samoa’s representative to the U.S. Congress, Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen.

Aumua, a Republican, was elected as American Samoa’s third Member of Congress on November 4, 2014.  She is the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from American Samoa, and the first Republican woman of Samoan descent in Congress and the Republican party’s highest ranking Asian Pacific elected federal officeholder in the nation.   She has been the most senior member of the Republican National Committee since 2012 and holds the orator (talking chief) title of Aumua from the village of Pago Pago, where she is a registered voter. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Guam, with additional studies at Loyola-Marymount and George Mason Universities.  One of 13 children of the late Governor and Mrs. Peter Tali Coleman, she is married to Fred Radewagen.  Together they have three grown children and one grandchild.

A community activist who volunteers with the Women's Hospital Auxiliary, she is also a member of Business and Professional Women and is on the board of Goodwill Industries.  A 24-year cancer survivor, Aumua has served as spokesperson for the Samoan Women's Health Project to promote cancer awareness and bring mammography to the territory, and has been liaison to the National Breast Cancer Coalition since 1993.  She also is a member of the board of Field House 100 American Samoa, a non-profit organization devoted to finding athletic scholarship opportunities in the states for talented local high school athletes.

Aumua was a member of the 1986 American Council of Young Political Leaders study tour of Australia and was elected a member of the ACYPL Alumni Council in 1987.  She was a member of the advance team for the historic 1990 Honolulu summit between President George H.W. Bush and Pacific Island leaders and assisted the president's delegation in the meeting; she also was Washington advance liaison for the vice president's 1989 visit to Pago Pago. A member of the U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leadership Staff for eight years, Aumua was Conference Scheduling Director and also supervised the database created to reach out to Asian- Pacific and other minority aspirants for congressional staff positions.  Earlier in her career, she served at the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.  She also was the first executive assistant to the first delegate-at-large to Washington from American Samoa.

Appointed by President George W. Bush in 2001 as a White House Commissioner for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), she chaired the Community Security Committee. Aumua was the only Pacific Islander on the 15-member commission, which advised the President on AAPI issues and issued a landmark report on the health care needs of America's AAPI communities.   

In 2003 she became the first and only Pacific Islander ever chosen as "Outstanding Woman of the Year" by the National Association of Professional Asian American Women (NAPAW). In 2008, she received the International Leadership Foundation’s Visionary Award and in 2013 was presented the “Inspirational Speaker” Award at the Ninth Annual Samoan Athletes Heart of Champions Ceremony in La Mesa, California.  Aumua’s biography appears in Who's Who in Politics, Who's Who in the South and Southwest and on the United States list of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Register of Skilled Women in the Pacific.  She also was one of the 100 women profiled in The Women of American Samoa 1900-2000: A hundred years of development and achievements, a book prepared in conjunction with the centennial observances of American Samoa as a U.S. territory.

For full details on Aumua’s longstanding accomplishments in Washington and beyond, visit her official website at: radewagen.house.gov. For more information on the 63rd ASCC Commencement, call the College at 699-9155 and ask for the Division of Student Services at extension 376.