Michi Nishiura Weglyn
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Michi Nishiura Weglyn exemplifies what can be accomplished through determination and devotion to a cause. Her indomitable spirit has led to an illustrious professional career and a lasting historical contribution.
With the outbreak of World War II, Ms. Weglyn was among the 110,000 Japanese- Americans who were unjustly and forcibly removed from their homes and placed in America's concentration camps. Subsequently, she embarked on a long, noteworthy career as a theatrical costume designer for Broadway, television, and night clubs. She has worked with many of the most well known performing artists of her day, including a long stint as the costume designer on the Perry Como Show, and founded her own manufacturing and design studio. Her artistry and flair garnered her commendations and distinction in a highly competitive industry.
However, it was her experience in an American concentration camp that formed the core of what was to become her driving passion for equality, justice and diversity, and which 35 years later became the basis for Ms. Weglyn's much heralded work, Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America's Concentration Camps.
Her determination to uncover the truth became a watershed experience, not only for those who suffered the inhumanity of the concentration camp experience, but for Americans in general, and humanitarians world-wide. Through her literary work, and her vocal and active efforts to achieve redress for those who had their rights summarily revoked, Ms. Weglyn played a critical role in the campaign to have the U.S. government atone for its treatment of Japanese-Americans.
Ms. Weglyn, an active voice against racism in all forms, has placed herself foursquare in the battle against injustice, in promoting the rights of the underprivileged, and in assisting the homeless and less fortunate in our society. Her efforts represent a victory for the many who have suffered, not only in the World War II experience, but in the many areas of the world where suffering and man's inhumanity to man have become all too commonplace.
Through efforts such as hers, generations of Americans, and freedom-loving people all over the world, can find support for their own missions of justice and peace.
In recognition of a lifetime dedicated to the advancement of education, diversity, and human rights the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona are proud to confer on Michi Weglyn the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.