WWII-Era Japanese-American Nursing Student Advocate Honored - Higher Education: Following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. politicians, newspaper editorials and average citizens cried out for vengeance against Japanese-Americans, viewing them as a security risk. With little warning, Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast were rounded up and relocated to internment camps in the interior parts of the county. Among those facing relocation were “nisei,” U.S.-born children of Japanese immigrants, who were studying to become nurses. They were forced to leave their schools.
As hospitals suffered a severe nursing shortage as a result of the war, Henrietta Loughran, dean of the University of Colorado’s nursing college, considered the loss of the students’ rights and skills as unjust and a waste. So Loughran used connections from the University of Washington and the University of California San Francisco, as well as assistance from Colorado Gov. Ralph Carr, to quietly transfer students facing internment to CU to complete their bachelor’s degrees in nursing.