The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) sends warm and joyful wishes to Secretary Norman Y. Mineta for his 90th birthday on Friday, Nov. 12.
The Honorable Norman Y. Mineta has been JANM’s chair of the Board of Trustees since 2015, and a museum trustee since 1996. He previously served on JANM’s Board of Governors from 1988-1995, and served as its chair from 2010-2015.
Mineta was the first Asian American appointed to a presidential Cabinet. He was named secretary of commerce under President Bill Clinton in 2000, and served as secretary of transportation under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006.
“We celebrate Norm on his 90th birthday with great joy, affection and deep admiration,” said Ann Burroughs, president and CEO of JANM. “Norm’s remarkable journey is a uniquely American story from his birthplace of San Jose, Calif., to the incarceration of his family at Wyoming’s Heart Mountain concentration camp during World War II, to serving as mayor of San Jose, to his 21 years in Congress and his appointments to the Cabinets of two presidents. Countless people count him a mentor, role model, colleague and treasured friend. He stands with the very best. We raise a toast to Norm on his special day. Happy Birthday Norm!”
Mineta graduated from UC Berkeley with a major in business, and later served as an intelligence officer for the U.S. Army in the Korean War. In 1971, he became San Jose’s mayor, the first Asian American to become mayor of a major U.S. city.
HIs dedication to public service continued when he represented his hometown in the House of Representatives for more than 20 years. He also held executive positions in the private sector for Hill & Knowlton and Lockheed Martin. In 2006, President George W. Bush recognized Mineta with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award. Mineta was awarded JANM’s Distinguished Medal of Honor in 2012.
In honor of his birthday, the Mineta Legacy Project (https://www.facebook.com/minetalegacyproject/) is streaming a film about his life, “Norman Mineta and His Legacy: An American Story” (https://vimeo.com/424965737), for free this month.