Alumni Profile George Wakiji '63 B.A. Journalism
By Linda Wah
Alumni Association V.P., Communications
George Wakiji's mission is to build a memorial to honor American patriots of Japanese descent who served their country during World War II. In October 1992, Congress authorized the building of the memorial, and the government has donated federal land for its construction.
Wakiji, who was recently appointed Executive Director of the National Japanese-American Memorial Foundation, is responsible for raising the funds to build the memorial. Since his appointment in 1995, he has established a Board of Trustees comprising distinguished members from various parts of the nation.
In 1957, Wakiji received a degree in Social Welfare from UCLA, and later decided to return to school to pursue a journalism major. In 1963, he graduated from Cal State L.A. with a B.A. in Journalism.
Wakiji was among the first Asian-Americans hired for a sales/marketing job with TWA in the 1960s. He has had a long and distinguished career in public relations including positions with the Peace Corps and the Department of Labor. One of his most interesting posts was as Country Director of the Kingdom of Tonga, which he held for over three years. Wakiji is a veteran of the Korean Conflict. He retired from the Department of Labor to take on his new position.
George Wakiji is a native of Pasadena. His wife, Betty, is from Hokonaa, Hawaii. His daughter, Dana, is a television sportscaster in Detroit. Most recently, he attended a 40-year reunion with his colleagues who participated in Project India. Their camaraderie was documented in Tom Morgan's book, Friends and Fellow Students.
Anyone who wishes to get involved with the National Japanese-American Memorial Foundation, may contact George Wakiji at 2828 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 305, Washington, D.C. 20007.