About 700 UC students withdrew from school in 1942 when they and approximately 120,000 Japanese-Americans on the West Coast were sent to internment camps. UCLA will award honorary degrees this spring.
By Harry Mok, UC Office of the President
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA campuses are still looking for Japanese-American students who had their studies derailed by being interned during World War II. Ceremonies to award honorary degrees to the former students are set for December and spring 2010. The campuses want to honor as many people as possible and are still seeking potential recipients.
Japanese-americansThe lives of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast took a U-turn on Feb. 19, 1942, when President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. The presidential action authorized the mass evacuation and imprisonment of Japanese Americans in Washington, Oregon, California and parts of Arizona for most of World War II.
Approximately 700 UC students withdrew from school in 1942 when they and approximately 120,000 Japanese-Americans on the West Coast were sent to internment camps. Many never returned to UC to finish their studies. Some eventually earned degrees from other universities, while others never returned to college.
On July 16, 2009, the University of California Board of Regents agreed to grant special honorary degrees to Japanese-American students who were enrolled at UC and never received a UC degree as a result of the internment.
Ceremonies to award the degrees have been scheduled at UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC San Francisco — the four campuses in existence at the time of the internment order. During the ceremonies, campuses also plan to acknowledge former students who were interned but returned to UC to finish their degree.
UCLA's ceremony is scheduled for spring, the exact date yet to be determined. Former students who may be eligible, their families or friends are encouraged to contact UCLA's Patricia Lippert (310) 894-8604 about receiving an honorary degree. Find an earlier announcement of the program here and additional information here.