Ceremony and lecture honouring Japanese Canadian student denied admission in 1945

Event: Henry Sugiyama, an 87-year-old doctor from Toronto, has been admitted to a new Asian Canadian studies program. Sugiyama was denied entry to UBC in 1945 because of his Japanese ancestry. He will attend a symbolic first day of class on Tuesday.

Date: Tuesday, Sep. 23, 1:30 p.m – 3 p.m.

Location: St. John’s College
2111 Lower Mall
Map here.

Note: Dr. Sugiyama will be available to speak to media from 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. An admission ceremony will follow. Media are also welcome to join Dr. Sugiyama when he attends a lecture for the class Asian Migrations to the Americas at 3:30 p.m.

Henry Sugiyama was denied entry to the University of British Columbia in 1945 because the War Measures Act forbid Canadians of Japanese ancestry like himself from living on Canada’s West Coast. Now the 87-year-old retired Toronto doctor is the first student to be admitted to a new minor in Asian Canadian and Asian Migrations Studies.

The new program was first announced in 2012, the year UBC formally recognized the injustice of the War Measures Act and bestowed honorary degrees on 76 Japanese Canadian students who were affected by forced removal from the West Coast during the war.

A media availability with Dr. Sugiyama begins at 1:30 p.m. Media are also invited to attend a short ceremony to honour Dr. Sugiyama at 2:00 p.m.  The admission ceremony will include a speaking program featuring:

  • Chris Lee, director of the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies program
  • Alden Habacon, UBC’s director of Intercultural Understanding Strategy Development
  • Carolyn Nakagawa, student in the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies program
  • Henry Sugiyama
  • Mary Kitagawa, community member who led the campaign for honorary degrees for former UBC Japanese Canadian students

Read the full story about Dr. Sugiyama and the new Asian Canadian and Asian Migrations Studies Program here.


Heather Amos
UBC Public Affairs
Tel: 604.822.3213
Cell: 604.828.3867
Email: heather.amos@ubc.ca