Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

Nisei alumni ceremony set for April 1

Executive Order 9066, issued by President Franklin Roosevelt on Feb. 19, 1942, authorized the removal of all persons deemed a "threat to national security" from the West Coast to relocation centers farther inland. During the war years, 10 Willamette students of Japanese backgrounds were incarcerated; in 1981, a congressional commission called the act a "grave injustice" and concluded that the order was a result of "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership."

On April 1, Willamette will hold a dedication event in recognition of these Nisei alumni and their families. President Pelton will dedicate a bench, stone and plaque in a ceremony that will be held in front of the Mark O. Hatfield Library, along Mill Creek and near the flowering cherry tree sheltering the new commemorative bench.

Participants will include United Methodist Church bishop Robert Hoshibata and Dean Nakanishi '98 MAT'00, a Willamette alumnus and Seattle-area teacher whose research project documented the students' story.

Following the dedication, a free concert in Rogers Music Center will feature Oregon's fifth poet-laureate, Lawson Inada, and the multi-generational Minidoka Swing Band, including vocalists Hank Sakamoto and Nola Bogle.

No tickets are needed for the dedication or concert, and the public is welcome to attend.