St. Olaf’s Nisei College Students
One of the colleges that accepted Nisei students relocated from the camps through the NJASRC was St. Olaf College. St. Olaf was first officially contacted about accepting Nisei students in the summer of 1942 by Fredrik A. Schiotz, acting on the behalf of the NJASRC and the American Lutheran Council (ALC). After some deliberation, Acting President Jørgen Thompson wrote back to Schiotz on August 27th of 1942: “It was unanimously decided that American citizens of Japanese origin will be given the same opportunities as all other students at St. Olaf College.” St. Olaf eventually accepted eleven Nisei students, although only two did matriculate. Many of them came to St. Olaf due to either an interest in music — then as much as now a focus of the school — or due to an affiliation with the Lutheran church. Unfortunately, due to lack of records we have only a partial record of who each student was, what their time at St. Olaf was like, and what they did after attending St. Olaf.
Not pictured: Mayme Kishi (January 30, 1943), Mary Hayano (February 8, 1943), Yuki Takei (February 8, 1943), Elaine Uyemura (January 29, 1944), Helen Ogata (spring of 1944)
Photos courtesy of St. Olaf’s Viking yearbooks of ’43, ’44, ’45 and St. Olaf Admissions and Records