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Alumni who triumphed over tragedy honored with scholarship

Harry, Josh and Jimmy Tsujimoto

When Roy and then Miki Tsujimoto emigrated from Japan to the United States in the 1910s, they believed in the American dream, and they knew they would have to work twice as hard as nonimmigrants to attain it.

But that American dream was hard to come by. Their dairy farm went under when milk prices plunged during the Depression. Amid anti-Asian racism exacerbated by the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941, the family was forcibly relocated to an internment camp in Poston, Arizona, where they spent two and a half years.

Now the couple – whose sons Josh ’49 and Harry ’51 found opportunity as students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences – will be honored with the “Tsujimoto Family Plaza” on the Ag Quad.

To honor Harry and Josh, Harry’s wife, Grace Kase, made a $4 million gift to Cornell, $3 million of which will fund two new scholarships for low-income students who are immigrants or the children of immigrants. As part of Cornell’s affordability initiative, a key priority of the recently launched To Do the Greatest Good campaign, Kase’s scholarship gifts will be matched with an additional $1.5 million through the university’s challenge match program, increasing the impact of the newly formed endowments. The other $1 million will be used to support CALS programming, at the dean’s discretion, in honor of which Cornell has named a plaza on the Ag Quad the “Tsujimoto Family Plaza.”

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