Honorary degrees

May, 12, 2010
Dozens of Japanese-American internees to receive honorary degrees

By CYNDEE FONTANA / McClatchy Newspapers

FRESNO, Calif. - Honorary degrees will be awarded next week in Fresno and nearby Reedley to more than three dozen Japanese-American students whose college studies were interrupted by World War II internment orders.

On May 20, Fresno State University will confer 27 honorary degrees at a ceremony in the Satellite Student Union. On May 21, Reedley College will award 11 degrees during its commencement.

Public colleges and universities around California have been searching for the lost generation of Japanese-American students. After the 1941 Pearl Harbor bombing, a presidential order sent roughly 120,000 Japanese-Americans to internment camps - including college students.

California state Assemblyman Warren Furutani sponsored legislation calling on the California State University, University of California and California Community College systems to honor students now likely in their 80s. Some are deceased.
Some colleges and universities already have awarded degrees; Fresno State conferred its first in December to John Hiroshi Otomo of Selma, Calif.

Fresno State officials say they have attempted to contact 83 students eligible for honorary bachelor of humane letters degrees under the CSU Nisei College Diploma Project. Those unable to attend will receive degrees by mail, and authorities continue to work with community groups to locate some alumni or their families.
Six alumni, and representatives of 21 others, are expected to accept degrees at Fresno State next week. The alumni are Julia (Goto) Ohki (Poston 222-6-B), Richard Toshio Henmi, Joan (Kanagawa) Fujihara (Poston 227-5-B), Sumi Kamikawa Murashima, Satoshi Kuwamoto and Kazue Sekiya Iwatsubo.

Diplomas will be presented to the families of John Arakaki, Harold H. Arase, Akira Jitsumyo, Sumiye Jitsumyo Hatakeda, Toshio T. Ishimoto, Lois S. Kanagawa (Poston 227-5-B), Taro Katagiri, Haruko Herky Kawahara, Nao "Jack" Kawakami, Mary Kobayashi Shimizu, Mary Machida, Takami Misaki, Sachiye Maruko, Ann T. Miyamoto (Poston 221-12-B), Frank Yoshiharu Nishio, Olive Tetsuko Ogawa, Alice Yutaka Osaki, Shigeru Sanbongi, Otto Hiromu Suda, Helen Yemoto and Velma Yemoto.

In Reedley, Betty Jane Nakashima (Poston 326-10-C) will accept an honorary associate of arts degree. Family members will accept on behalf of Yoneko Ashida (Poston 306-5-B), Fumiko Hamada, Megumi Betty Hamada, Tsugio Hamada, Masayuki Nakamura (Poston block 306), Aiko Sasaki (Poston block 318), Mineto Shimizu (Poston 318-9-C), Mitsue Shimizu (Poston 318-9-C), Taky Yamada and Max Yano.

Fresno City College officials said no ceremony is planned there because records from that era couldn't be separated from Fresno State's records. The two colleges shared the same campus in the early 1940s.

Source: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2010/05/12/1428599/dozens-of-japanese-american-internees.html
Help us honor former Japanese-American students!

The State Center Community College District (SCCCD) will present honorary degrees to all Japanese-Americans who were students during World War II and had their education disrupted by incarceration in internment camps.

Nisei students attending Reedley College or Fresno City College in 1941/1942 are eligible to receive the honorary degree.

Families of deceased former students may apply on behalf of their relatives to accept the honorary degree for them. The colleges need your assistance in identifying potential honorees.

If you know of any potential recipients, contact Deborah Ikeda at (559) 325-5214 or email deborah.ikeda@sccd.edu.

The colleges will validate the honoree's attendance and contact the family regarding the ceremony.

Please provide the potential honoree's first and last name, date of birth and any other names that may have been used (i.e. maiden name).

In addition, please provide contact information including your name, telephone number with area code, street address and email.

For more information about the SCCCD Japanese-American honorary degrees, please contact Deborah Ikeda by phone at (559) 325-5214 or by email at deborah.ikeda@scccd.edu

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