Honorary degree awarded to World War II internee
23, 2009 -- The
California State University Board of Trustees has voted to grant honorary
bachelor's degrees to Japanese Americans who were enrolled at CSU campuses
and forced to internment camps during World War II. Today, the first
honorary degree was awarded posthumously to Aiko Nishi Uwate, a Japanese
American woman who studied music at SF State before being sent to Gila
River relocation camp in Arizona. At a ceremony in Long Beach, the degree
was accepted by Uwate's daughter, Vivian Uwate Nelson.
Aiko Nishi Uwate was one of 19 SF State students of Japanese ancestry who were pulled from their classes under U.S. military and government orders and forced to live in internment camps during World War II. SF State recognized these students as honored alumni at the campus' 1998 commencement exercises and in 2002 the campus opened a Garden of Remembrance to honor all Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II.
The CSU is asking for public assistance in identifying individuals who qualify for the honorary degree. Former CSU students (or families of students) whose studies were interrupted due to the internment can call (562) 951-4723 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Elaine Bible
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