Dear USC President Nikias,
I was elated to hear that USC had decided to bestow honorary degrees on the many Nisei students who were unable to complete their degree or formally receive their degree due to Executive Order 9066 during World War II.
However, I was surprised when I later learned that USC has decided not to confer these degrees on deserving former students who are deceased. I wanted to share that I myself will be receiving an honorary degree at the University of British Columbia commencement exercise on May 30 on behalf of my late father, who was denied his diploma due to circumstances that parallel the many USC Nisei students’ experience.
My sister and I along with my son plan to attend this ceremony due to its personal significance to our family and to bring closure to a painful time in my father’s life. Participating in this ceremony provides surviving family members a chance to right a wrong that was denied to someone dear to us all.
Japanese Americans suffered many civil rights injustices during World War II. Let’s not repeat the mistakes again by rejecting those who are deserving of full recognition but will not receive it because they have passed on. I implore you to do the honorable thing as a leading and respected educational institution. Please honor all students living or deceased during your upcoming conferring of honorary degrees and allow next of kin family members to represent those that are not able to be present due to their health or having been predeceased.
This will allow all deserving graduate families the opportunity to bask in this long-overdue honor.
Donald R. Nose
Go For Broke National Education Center