Asian Americans at the College of William and Mary

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The first Asian American student to attend the College of William and Mary was Art Matsu, class of 1928.

First known Asian American student at William and Mary

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Photo of Art Matsu, circa 1927

Arthur A. (Art) Matsu - Matsu (class of 1928) is generally believed to be the first Asian American student to attend the College of William and Mary. Matsu was half Japanese. Matsu played back and kicked punts for the College's football team and was a member of the 7 Society among other activities. The Catalogue of Alumni and Alumnae (1932) lists Matsu's home as Wickliffe, Ohio and his occupation as coach at Rutgers University. In the March 22, 1947, issue of The Flat Hat Matsu is described as a "backfield mentor at another of the Northern schools." Matsu was selected in balloting for the all-time William and Mary football team. (Flat Hat 17 April 1946) See also stories about the football team in 1925 and 1926 in The Flat Hat and Colonial Echo.

Early Asian American Students

This list should be considered incomplete pending further research.

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Photo of Hatsuye Yamasaki in 1937 Colonial Echo, page 86.

Hatsuye Yamasaki – Entered the College in 1933 and graduated in 1937. During her time at the College, Yamasaki was part of the Judicial Council and the Women's Sophomore Tribunal. She was also Brown Hall President, Spanish Club Secretary, an Intramural Sports Representative, and on the Indian Handbook staff. Yamasaki hailed from Washington DC.

Beatrice H. Fujiwara Sakai of Honolulu, Hawaii entered the College in 1949 and graduated in 1953, majoring in biology. She was a member of the Biology Club. See the Flat Hat, April 24, 1951, page 7 and the Colonial Echo.

Carol Santoki of Hawaii was a graduate student in Education, graduating in 1960. [1]

Early Asian Students

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Portrait of Ming Pan in 1925 Colonial Echo, page 44.

This list should be considered incomplete pending further research.

  • Pu-Kao Chen from Shanghai, China graduated with an A.B. degree in 1923. See the 1923 Colonial Echo, page 39.
  • Ming Pan from Changsha, China. Pan had previously studied at College of Yale in China, also know as the Yale-China Association. See the 1925 Colonial Echo, page 44.
  • Swain Wool from Canton, China. Wool was involved in the Phoenix Literary Society and YMCA. He transfered to the College from Columbia University. See the 1930 Colonial Echo, page 66.
  • Asgnar Ali from Pakistan, see the October 7, 1952 issue of The Flat Hat.
  • Ed Sung from Hong Kong, see the October 6, 1959 issue of The Flat Hat.
  • Leona Sung from Hong Kong, sister of Ed Sung, see the September 22, 1961 issue of The Flat Hat, p. 13.
  • Olivia and Isabella Lam from Hong Kong, see the March 30, 1962 issue of The Flat Hat.

Norfolk Division

  • Pin Chin Wan began as a student at Norfolk Division in the fall of 1950 on a scholarship from Norfolk Rotary Club. Wan spoke English, “Chinese” (no mention of which language) and Malay. He went to school in Singapore but his father was a Seventh Day Adventist missionary in Malay. See High Hat, September 18-23, 1950. There is no record at the Old Dominion University Special Collections that he graduated. By 1952, the Seventh Day Adventists list him as residing in New Jersey.

Student Organizations

This list should be considered incomplete pending further research.

Asia and Africa Society (active late 1960s-early 1970s)

Asian-American Student Conference

Asian Student Council

Asian Student Union

Chinese Students Association

East Asian Studies Association

Filipino American Student Association (FASA)-1991, constitution and by-laws on file with the university's Office of Student Activities.

Focus on Asian Cultures Emerging in Society (FACES)

Indian Cultural Association - founded 1991 (later the South Asian Student Association)

Indonesian Gamelan

Japanese Cultural Association-1996, first constitution written on February 27, 1997]

Korean American Student Association (KASA) - founded 1984

South Asia Society

South Asian Student Association (SASA)

South-South East Asian Society (SSEAS)

Vietnamese Student Association (VSA)

Early Faculty and Staff

This list is incomplete pending further research. Also consult the list of Past Faculty.

  • I-Kua Chou, Instructor in Department of Government, 1948-51; Assistant Professor of Government, 1951-53; Associate Professor of Government, 1953-59; Professor of Government, 1959-65; On leave of absence, 1955-56, 1964-65. Interview in the Flat Hat, April 29, 1958 issue, page 6.
  • Joseph Zung, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, 1961-1964; Associate Professor of Chemistry, 1964-1968.
  • Chonghan Kim, Visiting Assistant Professor of Government, 1964-1965; Assistant Professor of Government, 1965-1966; Associate Professor of Government, 1966-1970; Professor of Government, 1970-1992; Professor of Government, Emeritus, 1992.
  • Kee Il Choi, Assistant Professor of Economics, 1965-1968; Associate Professor of Economics, 1968-1970.
  • Satoshi Ito, Instructor in Department of Sociology and the Anthropology Department, 1965-1966; Assistant Professor of Sociology, 1966-1971; Associate Professor of Sociology, 1971-2002; Professor Emeritus, 2003.
  • Sung Bok Kim, Assistant Professor of History, 1968-1971.
  • Mario D. Zamora (Philippines), Professor of Anthropology, 1973-1993.

Faculty Matters

Travis Summersgill

Prof. Travis L. Summersgill was forced to leave the employ of the College of William and Mary in 1956 when he returned to campus with his new wife who was Japanese.

Material in the Special Collections Research Center


In the News


Need help?

To search for further material, visit the Special Collections Research Center's Search Tool List for an overview of the Special Collections Database, W&M Digital Archive, Flat Hat-William & Mary News-Alumni Gazette index, card catalogs, and other tools available to help you find material of interest in the Swem Library's Special Collections Research Center.

Questions? Contact the Special Collections Research Center at spcoll@wm.edu or 757-221-3090, or visit the Special Collections Research Center in the Earl Gregg Swem Library at the College of William and Mary.

A Note About The Contents Of This Wiki
The information available in this wiki is the best available from known documents and sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of the College of William and Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information available here is the best available from known documents and sources at the time it was written. Information in this wiki is not complete as new information continues to be uncovered in the Swem Library's Special Collections Research Center and elsewhere. Researchers are strongly encouraged to use the Special Collections search tools for their research as the information contained in this wiki is by no means comprehensive.