ERIC Number: EJ791967
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr-18
Reference Count: N/A
A Ceremony to Help Heal "the Tragic Legacy of 1942"
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n32 pA8 Apr 2008
When Midori Funatake came here to the University of Oregon in 1940, she never suspected that she would not get her degree until Sunday, April 6, 2008. Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, during her second year. Fellow students and campus officials expressed sympathy to her, she says, but "the newspapers said anybody of Japanese descent was the enemy." She and her fellow nursing students were quickly shipped up to Portland and thrown straight into nursing, as the war effort demanded. But President Franklin D. Roosevelt was insistent: All Americans of Japanese descent on the West Coast would, in the interests of national security, be locked in internment camps. To avoid internment, Funatake and her older sister moved to Denver, and soon, the University of Oregon receded, as it did for 19 other Japanese-American students who had been enrolled there when the order was issued. All of those students--11 of them living--received honorary degrees this month. In a ceremony of reconciliation, the university awarded 19 bachelor's degrees and one master's degree. The ceremony was part of a day of "serious contemplation but also of celebration," a step in redressing "the tragic legacy of 1942," Dave Frohnmayer, president of the university, said in addressing the four new graduates who were able to attend, along with some 60 members from the families of living and deceased former students. The graduation ceremony is being echoed at other campuses in Oregon, California, and Washington. Next month the University of Washington will recognize 440 Japanese-American students expelled in 1942.
Descriptors: Japanese Americans, Ceremonies, Academic Degrees, State Universities, United States History, War, World History
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Oregon