SEATTLE (AP) – Michiko Kiyokawa was a typical freshman in 1942, taking biology and playing field hockey, when she was forced to leave college during the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

This Sunday, more than six decades later, Kiyokawa will return to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma to receive an honorary degree.

“It’s an honor,” the 85-year-old woman said in a telephone interview Friday from her home in Parkdale, Ore. “The college is being very broad-minded. It’s an effort to make up for something that had been done to us.”

Kiyokawa is one of two former WWII internees who will attend the graduation ceremony at the university’s Baker Stadium. Relatives of more than 30 other former Japanese American students who have passed away or couldn’t travel also are attending.

“Each loyal student removed from campus at that time represented a life and an education suddenly interrupted,” said university president Ronald R. Thomas. “By granting these now, we complete a circle.”

The university is the latest to award honorary degrees to former Japanese American WWII internees. The University of Washington, University of Oregon and Oregon State University held similar graduation ceremonies last spring.


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