The Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity recently bid farewell to Ark Chin and Gordon Hirabayashi.
Former University of Washington regent, Ark Chin, ’50, ‘52, passed away on Sun., Nov. 13, 2011, at the age of 87. A World War II veteran, engineering executive and avid philanthropist, Chin was a regent from 1998-2004, serving as board president in 2001-2002. Chin came to the United States from China at the age of 10. He received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in civil engineering from the UW. His initial schooling at UW was interrupted when he left to fight in World War II, where he was wounded twice and awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Chin was president and CEO for the Seattle engineering firm Kramer, Chin & Mayo, Inc., until his retirement in 1989. Along with his wife of 64 years, Chin established scholarships for students in need at the UW (civil engineering) and Western Washington University. He was a champion for diversity and a long-time supporter of the UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D), contributing to OMA&D’s Educational Opportunity Program Scholarship Fund over the span of two decades.
Gordon Hirabayashi, the UW alumnus who opposed the federal government’s internment of Japanese-Americans during Word Wart II, died on Jan. 2, 2012, at the age of 93. Hirabayashi was one of over 400 UW Nikkei students forced to leave campus in 1942, but defied the order which led to imprisonment. His conviction was eventually overturned in 1987 by a federal appeals court. A son of Japanese immigrants, Hirabayashi was born in Seattle and returned to UW after the war to earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. He taught at the American University of Beirut, the American University in Cairo and in Canada at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where he lived at the time of his death. Hirabayashi was featured in the New York Times.