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Chancellor Irwin launches fund to enhance student experience

Bonnie Irwin pictured
Chancellor Bonnie D. Irwin

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Chancellor Bonnie D. Irwin is launching a new fund to help students access important opportunities outside the classroom. The fund, called the Chancellor’s Fund for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity, will support undergraduates with expenses like travel for conferences or materials needed for their research.

“My dream for UH Hilo is that every student will be able to do something meaningful outside of class, whether it is research, studying abroad, an internship, or community service,” says Irwin. “A student told me that studying abroad at another university opened a door of opportunity she did not even know was there. This is what I see happening at UH Hilo.”

Access to these opportunities for as many students as possible is a high priority for UH Hilo. Behind every support fund or scholarship is a person or company committed to making higher education available to all students, Irwin says.

“Members of the local community who give their support to UH Hilo see it as an investment in the future.”

Building bonds

Irwin recounts how a past experience served as the inspiration behind the creation of the fund. Reflecting on her time at another university, she vividly recalls accompanying 17 students and four faculty members to a conference, traveling across many states by plane and car, and having their meals together.

“The rapport we established among the students and with their faculty created lasting memories and instilled in the students confidence in what they learned,” says Chancellor Irwin. “I still tell stories from that trip, and I am still in touch with those students, watching them grow in their careers. I want students and faculty at UH Hilo to have these same experiences, assuring students that they are ready to join the leagues of professionals in their fields.”

A vision for changed lives and transformed communities

Increased student engagement in research, guided by the exceptional faculty at UH Hilo, is expected to result in a higher number of graduates pursuing post-baccalaureate degrees. Irwin hopes this long-term vision will change lives and the Hawaiʻi Island community.

“Some students have the resources and knowledge to seek opportunities, but others find them beyond their reach…and I think funds like the one I am establishing help create more of these opportunities. UH Hilo is a hidden gem, a place where cool things are happening all the time. Our challenge is to make more people aware of our excellence, our dedication, and our aloha,” Irwin says.

Donate to the Chancellor’s Endowment for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity

Read full story at the UH Foundation website.

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