External Relations

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JUNE 2010

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CSU Honors Japanese American Students

Nisei graduates

Honorees Carl Yoshimine (left) and June Junko Kushino. Second row, James Kitchen, SDSU Vice President for Student Affairs (left) and Stephen Weber, SDSU President, during Nisei Commencement at San Diego State University. 

Photo by San Diego State University

Commencement celebrations at six CSU campuses this year included a historic ceremony honoring Japanese American women and men whose college careers at California State University campuses were interrupted by internment during World War II.

Some of the former students, now in their 80s and 90s, or their families attended special commencement ceremonies to receive an honorary bachelor’s degree.

The degrees honored the academic intentions of the Japanese American students who in 1942 were enrolled in campuses now part of the CSU system. 

The CSU Board of Trustees approved in September 2009 the creation of the CSU Nisei Diploma Project in response to AB 37 by Assembly Member Warren Furutani that directed California Public Higher Education institutions to present an honorary degree to the former students.

Ceremonies were held at San Diego State University, Fresno State University, CSU Dominquez Hills, San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

A video tribute featuring Louise Isako Miyake Morita, who attended Fresno State.

A story featuring Carl Yoshimine, who was forced to leave San Diego State in 1942.

Honorees

CSU Nisei Diploma Project honorees celebrate during the commencement ceremony on May 20, at CSU Fresno. From left,  Kazue Sekiya Iwatsubo, Satoshi Kuwamoto, Julia Goto Ohki, CSU Fresno President John Welty, Richard Toshio Henmi, Sumi Kamikawa Murashima, Joan Kanagawa Fujihara.

Photo by Fresno State photographer Randy Vaughn-Dotta

The CSU Chancellor’s Office also formed a Nisei Honorary Committee of prominent Californians to serve as advisers on the project.

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