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Letter from Robert O'Brien to President Wilkins, 29 June 1942

Letter from Robert O'Brien to President Wilkins, 29 June 1942. Correspondence Series, 2/7 Ernest H. Wilkins, Box 58, Nisei folder, Oberlin College Archives.


June 29, 1942

President Ernest H. Wilkins
Office of the President
Oberlin College
Oberlin, Ohio

Dear President Wilkins:

I want to take this opportunity to again thank you for the leadership which you have taken in perpetuating the Oberlin traditions which mean so much to her alumni. I should like to pass on to you the following quotation from a letter from one of our students who is there this summer:

"There are no exceptions of restrictions. The war hasn’t affected their policy a bit...there are eleven of us Nisei students at Oberlin, and my only regret is that some more of the Nisei students are not here to benefit by Oberlin democracy. It is indeed a pleasure and an inspiration to attend such a school where you are treated on an equal basis with everyone else."

One of the most difficult jobs in student relocation is that of placing our technically-trained graduate students. Of the men in this classification, our outstanding example is Mr. Chihiro Kikuchi, who has been a member of our faculty in Physics for several years. His colleagues in the department are at one in their unqualified recommendation of Mr. Kikuchi. There is little that I can add, except to say that I have known him personally for three years. Our contact has been intimate, as he was the leader of the young people at the Japanese Congregational Church in Seattle during the year which I acted as layman pastor (a good Oberlin congregational practice). In that time both Mrs. O’Brien and I have come to know him quite well and have admired him, not only as an able scholar and good teacher, but as a Christian gentleman of real loyalty to his country, --the United States.

Chihiro Kikuchi has completed all of his requirements for his Doctor’s degree with the exception of his thesis. More than anything else, he wants an opportunity to use his talents constructively in support of this country. I am hoping that you may see your way clear to find some small spot for him at Oberlin.

At present he is living in Pullman, Washington, the home of the state college, but we have had confidential information to the effect that the American-born may be removed from all the sections of the State of Washington.


Robert W. O’Brien
RWO: jeh