OSU Gives Honorary Degrees to Japanese Americans

May 23rd, 2008

From the Gazette Times:

OSU gives honorary degrees to Japanese-Americans
By KYLE ODEGARD
Gazette-Times reporter

Students sent to internment camps recognized

In the spring of 1942, Noboru Endow, then a sophomore studying chemistry at Oregon State University, received a letter from the government telling him he had to leave school in five days and board a bus for Portland.

The Portland resident was devastated, even though he’d been harassed and shunned in the dorms after Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor.

In the springtime following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese-Americans were being rounded up and sent to internment camps because the government believed they posed a threat during wartime.

“I thought it was kind of a raw deal,� said Endow, who is now 85 and lives in Santa Clara, Calif. “I didn’t think there was that was that much danger. I felt like an American. I was an American. I am an American. So I didn’t feel it was right. But I wanted to cooperate with the authorities.�

More than 65 years later, Endow will return to OSU to receive an honorary degree during commencement ceremonies on June 15.

The university will recognize 42 Japanese-American students evacuated from campus, and present honorary degrees to 22 of them or to representatives of their families.

“A great wrong was done to them and it is never too late to do the right thing,� OSU President Ed Ray said in a news release.

–mko

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