USC awards honorary degrees to Japanese-Americans sent to internment camps


Two Japanese-Americans hang an army recruitment poster in an internment camp during WWII.

The University of Southern California is tracking down Japanese-American students who never got to complete their degrees because they were sent to internment camps during World War II.

The Los Angeles Times reports Sunday that USC is joining an initiative to award honorary degrees to the displaced Japanese students, known as nisei (ni-SAY) or the second generation of Japanese immigrants.

The project was spurred by a 2009 law creating the California Nisei College Diploma Project for former students at the state's public universities.

Project coordinator Courtney Okuhara says about half of the estimated 2,500 students have been found, but there are likely many more who attended private institutions such as USC.

USC started honoring nisei students in 2008 by awarding them honorary alumni status.

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