An acceptance letter 69 years late

Story by Heather Amos, UBC Public Affairs

An 87-year-old Canadian doctor of Japanese ancestry is the first student in a new UBC program on Asian Canadian studies

It’s always disappointing when you don’t get into your university of choice, but Henry Sugiyama’s rejection from the University of British Columbia 69 years ago was particularly painful.

Sugiyama, then a Kamloops high school student, was more than qualified. He’d even won an entrance scholarship to the university based on academic merit. But the year was 1945 and the War Measures Act still forbid Canadians of Japanese ancestry like himself from living on Canada’s West Coast.

“The Second World War ended that summer and I was no longer an ‘enemy of the state.’ There was no real reason why UBC couldn’t take me,” he says.

Now he is getting his chance. The 87-year-old retired Toronto doctor is the first student to be admitted to a new UBC program that aims to tell the oft-neglected stories of Asian Canadians.

Read the complete story at UBC News

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