University of California Regents Vote to Give Honorary Degrees to Interned Japanese American Students

By Jorge Rivas Jul 17, 2009

Yesterday the University of California Board of Regents voted to grant special honorary degrees to hundreds of men and women forced to leave their studies at the University of California as a result of the internment of people of Japanese ancestry during World War II. In an article published today, the LA Times profiled Grace Obata Amemiya, one of about 700 students who were forced to leave school and relocate to camps during WWII.

Grace Obata Amemiya was a pre-nursing student at UC Berkeley in 1942 when she, her family and 120,000 other Japanese Americans were forced from their schools and homes and sent to federal internment camps. The wartime relocations destroyed her childhood dream of a University of California diploma. Amemiya, now 88, joyfully returned to UC on Thursday and was named a graduate six decades late.

If you know of a UC student who was forced to relocate to an internment camp, you can email the University of California with tips at You can read the entire LA Times story online. The press release from the University of California is also online.