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College presents degree to WWII Navajo Code Talker

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chester Nez, the last surviving original Navajo Code Talker, received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Kansas, 60 years after attending KU. 

In the spring of 1952, Marine Corps veteran Nez had to abandon his studies at KU because he had exhausted his GI Bill funding, no one knew his heroic wartime secret. He had been a member of the all-Navajo 382nd Marine Platoon, now known more commonly as Code Talkers. During World War II, a total of 420 Code Talkers used a code based on the Navajo language that was devised by the original 29 recruits.

Dean Danny Anderson presented Nez with his degree on Mon., Nov. 12, in a packed ceremony at the Lied Center. Nez received an abundance of awards during the Veterans Day ceremony, including the key to the city of Lawrence from Mayor Bob Schumm.

For more information, see the media coverage below:

Fox 4 News, 11/12 (video)

KSNT, 11/12 (video)

Kansas Public Radio, 11/12 (audio)

University Daily Kansan, 11/12

Lawrence Journal World, 11/13 (video)