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Coming Home: Father J. Alfred Carroll and Gonzaga's Amerasian Education Program, 1980 - 2010: Case 1

Case 1: Introduction

In 1982, a landmark act was passed by Congress. This act, the ‘1982 Amerasian Immigration Act,’ made it easier for abandoned Amerasians (the children of American soldiers and local women during the US military’s numerous occupations in Asia) to gain US citizenship. One of the main advocates of this law was Father J. Alfred Carroll, a Jesuit at Gonzaga University. Father Carroll, alongside Father Alfred V. Keane of St. Vincent’s Home in Seoul and Sister Anne Marie Willig, created an Amerasian Education Program at Gonzaga, where the Amerasians could learn English, attend university, find jobs, and work towards gaining their US citizenships. In 1980, the first year of the program, Gonzaga hosted three students from Korea. By 1982, the program had seventeen students and continued to grow.  Gonzaga eventually hosted Amerasians from other countries as well, including Thailand and the Philippines. The program lasted until about 2010, after the need for the program began to decline due to changing immigration laws and Father Carroll’s age. Father Carroll passed away in 2013 at the age of 84, but his legacy lives on through the hundreds of Amerasians he sponsored and educated for thirty years.

“Coming Home” is about the Gonzaga University Amerasian Education Program, founded by Father J. Alfred Carroll, SJ, in 1980. This exhibit contains materials drawn from Gonzaga University Archives’ “Amerasian Program Collection” and the Jesuit Oregon Province Archives’ “Father J. Alfred Carroll, SJ, Amerasian Program Collection.” Highlights of the exhibit include: letters written by the Amerasian students, gifts from Korea, Father Carroll’s personal photos, and photographs of the students with President Ronald Regan when he signed the ‘1982 Amerasian Immigration Act.’

Certificate accompanying the American Flag that was flown over Congress, 1982.


Gonzaga University Amerasian Program Students, 1982.

The students of the Gonzaga Amerasian Program when the landmark ‘1982 Amerasian Immigration Act’ was passed.

Plaque Presented to Father J. Alfred Carroll, SJ by Amerasian Students, 1989.

A plaque given to Father Carroll by his 1989 Amerasian students for his birthday.

Father J. Alfred Carroll, SJ ca. 2000.


Michael Schmeltzer, Celebrating Gonzaga: The University and its People, Santa Barbara: Sea Hill Press, 2012.

Story and images about the Amerasian Program at Gonzaga started by Fr. Carroll, S.J.