Ivy Tech Community College awarded a 95-year-old World War II veteran with an honorary degree for College and Community Service according to Fox News. William Henry Harvey never served in a combat role due to segregation in the military.
Instead, he was assigned as a cook aboard the U.S.S. Sacramento, which was stationed in Pearl Habor on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the military base.
The school decided to honor Harvey after a professor visited the healthcare facility he is living at on Veteran's Day.
“The original plan was to just present Mr. Harvey with just a small as a token of our appreciation to his service to our country but the leadership at Ivy Tech decided it would be better to give an honorary degree to a man who had given so much to his country.”
The school felt that they should honor his sacrifices at a time when the military was segregated.
“Nobody wanted the black man in the Navy," Harvey said.
Segregation in the military did not officially end until 1948 when President Harry S. Truman signed an executive order.
The school presented Harvey the honorary degree during their Black History Month celebration, which was focused on "Blacks in the Time of War."