East Asian Students At Roanoke College: Final Thoughts

As I have been researching all of the different East Asian Students at Roanoke College, my research process has taken many different turns throughout this semester. I began this project with the intent that I would only be researching the Japanese students that attended Roanoke however, I ran into an issue with that since there is not a lot of information available on these people. This caused me to have to switch to the Korean students since there were roughly 4 of them that I had found within the Roanoke Collegian. Two stood out among the others when it came to research, Kim Kyusik and Prince Eui Wha (also known as Prince Yi Kang). I wrote an article about Kim however I have not done one on Prince Eui due to lack of information on his time at Roanoke aside from the fact that he seemed to enjoy his time here however, I could not find if he graduated leading me to think that he did not. There are several other students from East Asia who attended Roanoke during this time, however, it also seems that many did not graduate.

One other thing that I had come across was that Roanoke College has received several gifts from some of these students and other important government officials from East Asia. We still have a lot of the gifts from Korea, many from Kim Kyusik and some can be seen in the bottom floor of Fintel Library. However, nearly all of the Japanese gifts during this time could not be located. After a bit of research in some of our catalogs, a Japanese General sent many gifts to Roanoke but they are not around today. I can only assume based on a piece in Dear Old Roanoke that mentioned around the time of World War II that Roanoke College stopped accepting Japanese students that we must have thrown the gifts away somewhere around that time.

Overall this experience has been a rewarding one as I not only got to learn more about the library and research, I also got to learn about Roanoke College’s history on a subject that interests me. I hope that this project allows others to learn about our history with our first few East Asian students as well as to help preserve their time here since a lot of this research had to be scanned in order to be saved (part of which was previously done through another student’s practicum however, I also published and scanned many other articles as well as made them significantly easier to search through with an Optical Character Recognition). I am thankful for the ability to go through this experience as well as document it through these series of blog posts that others can see as well.