World War II internee, former university president to speak at King breakfast

World War II internee, former university president to speak at King breakfast
October 25, 2007

Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
(630) 829-6094

The son of a Japanese-American couple who was born shortly before World War II, Roy Hirofumi Saigo spent his early childhood in an internment camp. But Saigo did not let that experience or the anti-Japanese, post-war animosity that followed deter him from becoming a national education leader and agent for change. “I was taught that spending your life trying to get even is foolish,” he said in an article appearing in the Chronicle of Higher Education in 1999. “It traps you in the past and robs you of your future. I was taught to get ahead rather than to get even.” The former president of St. Cloud State University (Minnesota) will be the guest speaker at the 13th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast sponsored by Benedictine University and the College of DuPage from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Monday, January 21, 2008 at the Krasa Center on the campus of Benedictine University. The King Breakfast, which honors the legacy of the civil rights leader and celebrates the diversity of college communities, is one of the largest events of its kind in the country. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Fund at both schools. Saigo, who retired from St. Cloud State earlier this year, believes that public higher education institutions must take a leadership role in educational and social issues and provide a welcoming environment for all students and employees. During his tenure, he dramatically increased St. Cloud State’s international focus and its enrollment of students of color. A champion for civil and human rights who has fought for Native, African, Hispanic and Asian Americans, Saigo has been honored by the Central Minnesota NAACP. He was also presented the Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement by the University of California-Davis and named a Distinguished Academic Fellow by Oregon State University. Saigo earned a doctorate in botany and plant pathology from Oregon State University and served as chancellor at Auburn University Montgomery (Alabama) before becoming president at St. Cloud State. He now serves as Distinguished Senior Fellow for Academic Affairs in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Tickets for the breakfast are $25 per person. Corporate sponsorships and/or ticket purchases for a full table are also available. For more information or to make reservations, contact Cynthia G. Johnson at the College of DuPage at (630) 942-3872 or by e-mail at Johnsncg@cod.edu, or Mary Ann Millush at (630) 942-2269 or by e-mail at millush@cod.edu.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, admissions@ben.edu or visit ben.edu.