If you happened to read Kevin Kawamoto’s internment piece on the plight of undergraduate AJAs in our current issue, this story might interest you.
According to Molly Rosbach of the University of Washington’s Daily, UW is honoring 440 Japanese Americans – many of them near the age of 90 – who were removed from the university and sent to internment camps across the United States in 1942. Several of the students were one course shy of completing their degree requirements when they left the school.
Interestingly enough, the octogenarians initially did not want the honor, but they agreed in the name of awareness:
[T]he students themselves don’t want this honor — they would be the first to say that there were many others who deserved it more. But their desire to get the story out there is what has convinced many that the ceremony is necessary.
For Prof. Gail Nomura, who labored for several years to get the honorary degrees approved, the ceremony is long overdue:
“It’s not making a statement or anything,” she said. “It’s just the right thing to do. We want them back as official alumni of the UW. They should be home.”