Mitsuo "Mits" Nitta graduated from UC Davis in 1941 with a Bachelor of Science degree in plant science. He cherished his four years as an Aggie, making life-long relationships that developed through his career in agriculture and his love of sports. Mits embodied a philosophy of hard work and hard play, striving to be the best in everything he did.
While playing football at Davis, Mits earned All-Far Western Conference honors four consecutive years, was team captain his senior year, and was twice honored as Most Valuable and Inspirational Player. He valued his friendship with students and faculty at UC Davis, as they continued to support him as a friend and fellow American during the difficult challenge of the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
After graduating from UC Davis, Mits enlisted in the U.S. Army, later serving as an officer in the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team. After the war, he returned home to southern California to join his family farming business, S. Nitta & Sons, eventually specializing in strawberries.
At the core of his being was his love of and loyalty to his family, community, country, school, and faith. Mits and Toki were married for 53 years, and they had four children (Elizabeth, Robert, Frances, and Connie) and one grandchild, Daniel.
Mits served as Chairman of the California Strawberry Advisory Board, and the Orange County Production Credit Association. He was a Trustee of the UC Davis Foundation, the St. Joseph Hospital Foundation of Orange, and the World Affairs Council of Orange County. Mits was honored with the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Award of Distinction, and received the Japan Agricultural Society's Achievement Award for his contributions as a Japanese-American farmer. He was a member of the Orange Rotary Club, where he was a Paul Harris Fellow. He also served on the Orange County Grand Jury, and was an Elder and long-time member of the First Presbyterian Church of Orange.
Mits often could be heard whistling the Aggie fight song, while doing the things he loved: golfing, deep sea fishing, watching football and baseball games, attending concerts, and traveling abroad.
Athletics Development Office