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Lily Qi

Maryland Delegate Lily Qi receives Manchester University Alumni Honor Award

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – Growing up in China, Lily Qi’s family taught her to value learning, responsibility and the worth of every person. 

As a college student in North Manchester, she would also learn the value of critical thinking, the power of a warm welcome, the benefits of living in a diverse and inclusive community, and the deep joy that comes from serving others.

Combine those lessons and they represent the core of who she is. They have guided her through life. And she reflects them clearly and brightly now as a lawmaker in the Maryland House of Delegates. 

Li Qi and David WaasThe 1991 Manchester graduate has received the Alumni Honor Award, the highest recognition the Manchester University Alumni Association can bestow upon an alumnus. It was presented at Homecoming by Professor Emeritus of History David Waas, himself a 1947 graduate.

Qi learned about Manchester in the 1980s when she served as an interpreter for Manchester Professor Al Deeter while he was visiting Shanghai. Before he left, he made her an offer: “I will sponsor you at Manchester if you ever want to come and study in the United States.”

It was an offer too good to refuse, so she arrived in North Manchester in 1989 to earn her degree in communication studies. Being an immigrant and student was not easy, but Qi proved her mettle. She worked early in the morning as a student custodian. After lunch and dinner, she washed dishes in the cafeteria. Classes in English were challenging so, to keep up, she recorded lectures and replayed them when she studied.

Through the kindness and hospitality of faculty, staff and townspeople, Qi and her husband, Phil Peng, made lifelong friendships. Manchester was transformative, she said. It was and still is “a safe haven” for people to explore who they are and who they want to be.

After Manchester, Qi earned two master’s degrees. She has worked with multicultural students at American University in Washington, D.C., and for a Washington nonprofit focused on economic development. She also worked as director of special projects for Montgomery County, Md., where she has lived for more than 20 years.

Now Lily is living her own version of the American dream – shaping public policy, leading change, and making lives better for her community and constituents.

Featured in a recent NPR special series, Lily said she wouldn’t trade where she is for anything. “Only in America,” she said, “can you run for office and get elected by people who can’t even pronounce your last name. This,” she says, “is amazing.”

She will join the Manchester University Board of Trustees in 2020. 

Contact for the media
Office of Alumni Relations at 888-257-2586 or alumnioffice@manchester.edu

About Manchester
With campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., Manchester University offers more than 70 areas of academic study to 1,400 students in undergraduate programs,a Master of Accountancy, a Master of Science in pharmacogenomics, a Master of Athletic Training a four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy degree and a four-year dual degree in pharmacy and pharmacogenomics. Learn more about the private, northern Indiana school at www.manchester.edu

Our mission
Manchester University respects the infinite worth of every individual and graduates persons of ability and conviction who draw upon their education and faith to lead principled, productive, and compassionate lives that improve the human condition.

October 2019