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Category: Community Gatherings

Chancellor Straney attends benefit for American Cancer Society

Chancellor Straney speaks at benefit for the American Cancer Society sponsored by Sig Zane Designs, Aloha Mondays & The Lambeth-Manny Ohana. Many guests wore Sig Zane apparel, including the chancellor whose shirt and tie are from the local designer’s men’s wear collection. Photo by Aaron Yoshino.

Sig Zane Designs

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Chancellor’s Mahalo Celebration will feature locally grown and produced foods, dessert contest

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s annual Chancellor’s Mahalo Celebration will be held on Thursday, Dec. 15, from 3:00 to 4:30 pm at the Campus Center Plaza.

Festivities will feature locally grown and produced foods. Faculty and staff also will have an opportunity to demonstrate their culinary talents through a Holiday Dessert Contest. Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:

  • Sodexho Baker’s Tastiest Choice: $50 Sodexho meal card
  •  Chancellor’s Most Original Choice: $50 gift certificate
  • Student’s Presentation Choice: $50 gift certificate from the UH Hilo Student Activity Council

There also will be hands-on activities for children to make fun things to take home!

Happy Holidays!

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Donors are introduced to scholarship recipients at the 2011 Scholarship Banquet

“Behind every scholarship there is an individual or a company that has a connection to UH Hilo and a desire to help our students. On behalf of the university community, I’d like to take this opportunity to express gratitude to our donors.” -Chancellor Straney

Retired pharmaceutical entrepreneur Alec Keith, center, is surrounded by scholarship recipients at the 2011 Scholarship Banquet. In 2004, Keith and his wife Kay pledged $2.4 million to fund scholarships at UH Hilo, which at that time was the largest private donation made to any campus in the UH system. The Alec and Kay Keith Scholarship supports students from Hawai‘i and the Pacific islands who demonstrate both academic merit and financial need. Photos by Robbyn Peck.
Chancellor Straney delivers remarks at the 2011 Scholarship Banquet.

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Don Straney and the UH Foundation co-hosted the 2011 Scholarship Banquet held Nov. 10 on campus. The annual event is organized to thank UH Hilo’s private scholarship donors and to introduce them to the students currently benefiting from their support. About 150 people attended, including 50 private scholarship donors.

“It’s clear what a vitally important role our private donors play in ensuring the academic success of our students– scholarships support students to complete their education and contribute to their communities,” said Chancellor Straney. “Behind every scholarship there is an individual or a company that has a connection to UH Hilo and a desire to help our students. On behalf of the university community, I’d like to take this opportunity to express gratitude to our donors.”

Donor Gladys Sonomura walks up to the podium to give her remarks.

Donor Gladys Sonomura said a long time ago she began to embrace the idea that UH Hilo could become Hilo’s primary economy, its industry as a college town, like the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she studied for a year.

“Astronomy, the volcanoes, the ocean and multi-culturalism are unique here,” said Sonomura. “Pharmacy and advanced nursing degrees are now entrenched here. Hilo is on an island where we even have the requisite elevations from sea level to the tops of our mountains to grow almost anything.”

Sonomura’s friends were invited to accompany Pierre and Pam Omidyar when they received the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in New York last month. Noting that Andrew Carnegie was quoted as having said, “To die rich is to die in disgrace,” Sonomura commented, “I like to think that if I had access to such wealth, I would not die in disgrace. UH Hilo would receive the greater part of it, and I would also support Hawai‘i Community College.”

Elina Fred

Scholarship recipient Elina Fred was born and raised on the island of Kosrae in the Federated States of Micronesia. She is due to graduate from UH Hilo in December with a double major in accounting and communications. Her goal is to become a CPA. Fred thanked her donor, Alec Keith, “for having given me a 23-year head start on where I want to go” because 23 years is how long she calculated that she would have had to work with only a high school diploma in Micronesia in order to earn sufficient funds to attend a university in the U.S.

Cheryl Lopez

“Tonight is the first time I’m meeting you,” she said to Keith, “but you’ve already made a big impact on my life.”

Fred hopes one day to start a scholarship fund for students from her island.

Scholarship recipient Cheryl Lopez was born and raised in a Filipino-American family on Maui. She is the first in her in her family to earn an undergraduate degree and is now in the third year of pharmacy school. She, too, hopes one day to provide scholarship support to students.


Facts about Financial Aid at UH Hilo:

  • 70% of UH Hilo’s 4,000+ students depend upon some form of financial aid to fund the cost of attending university. For first year students at UH Hilo, the percentage is even higher: 75% of freshmen are receiving financial aid.
  • UH Hilo has the highest percentage of students receiving aid of any of the ten campuses in the University of Hawai‘i System.
  • Almost 42% of UH Hilo students qualify for Pell grants, the federal aid which reserved for students with the highest financial need. This academic year, for the first time in history, the maximum Pell grant failed to meet the full cost of resident tuition at UH Hilo.
  • The UH Hilo Financial Aid office receives almost 7,000 applications for financial aid and awards over $42 million in support to students annually. Private scholarships account for about 1% of this aid, or $440,000.
  • In FY11, generous donors enabled UH Hilo to raise the largest number of private scholarship dollars in history: $1,618,148. Between 2000 and 2011, UH Hilo’s scholarship endowment grew from $942,000 to $3.4 million.
Photos by Robbyn Peck.
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UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College jointly sponsor faculty and staff leadership summit

The Leadership Summit held this past weekend gave faculty, staff  and students a chance to boost their skills as leaders in higher education within a cultural context.

At the kipaepae at the leadership summit. Photos courtesy of Hawaiʻi Community College I Ola Haloa.

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College (HawCC) are working together on professional development programs to increase faculty and staff knowledge and awareness of Hawaiian perspectives. The two campuses jointly sponsored this past weekend’s retreat designed to boost faculty and staff skills as leaders in higher education within a cultural context. This type of professional development strengthens the ability of both campuses to fully support Native Hawaiian students as they complete their higher education.

Saturday was Wahipana: Sacred Geographies of Hilo. The purpose was to have UH Hilo and HawCC faculty, staff, and students collectively develop a personal relationship to the Hilo community amongst sacred geographies. Some of the sites visited included:

  • Wakaomāui (Canoe of Maui)
  • Waiānuenue (Rainbow Falls) that includes Keanaohina (Cave of Hina), and Waiokuna (Water of Kuna)
  • Peʻepeʻe (Boiling Pots)
  • Puʻuōpeʻapeʻa (Bat Hill), Puʻuhālaʻi (Hill of Tranquil Breath) and Puʻuhonu (Turtle Hill)
David Lonborg (at right), UH President MRC Greenwoodʻs executive assistant, and David Olwell (left), American Council on Education Fellow, put on their kīhei to get ready for the kipaepae ceremony. Photo by Cam Muir.

At Sunday’s ʻAhaʻaha Leadership Summit  the discussion was about Leadership through Traditional Rites of Passage.

The participant numbers for the weekend were as follows: Saturday’s Wahipana O Hilo, 122 participants; Sunday’s ʻAhaʻaha Leadership Summit, 78 participants. On Saturday, David Lonborg, UH President MRC Greenwoodʻs executive assistant, and David Olwell, American Council on Education Fellow, both flew over from Honolulu to participate.

Some scenes from the summit:

Faculty, staff and student participants gather at Sunday’s leadership summit while Pele Kaio, center, a UH Hilo student majoring in geography and unuolehua hula student, chants the group onto Ka Pakapaka Malae ceremonial grounds.
At right, Jubilee Kuewa, interim director at UH Hilo’s Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action office, learns how to make hei  (string figures) with Wahineaukai Mercado, a UH Hilo pre-nursing major and unuolehua kumu hula trainee.
Marianne Takamiya, UH Hilo assistant professor of astronomy, makes hei (string figures like “cat’s cradle”).
Randy Hirokawa, dean of UH Hilo’s College of Arts and Sciences, prints his kīhei, a shoulder wrap used for special ceremonies.
On Saturday, the group listens to  Taupōuri Tangarō, PhD, assistant professor and department chair of Hawaiian life styles and humanities at Hawai‘i Community College, during a visit to Waiānuenue (Rainbow Falls), which includes Keanaohina (Cave of Hina) and Waiokuna (Water of Kuna).
One of the sites visited on Saturday was Peʻepeʻe (Boiling Pots).

Unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy of Hawaiʻi Community College I Ola Haloa. Mahalo to all photographers!

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Heritage Center opens at UH Hilo’s North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center

The Heritage Center will be an active educational facility that will foster pride and perpetuate the diverse heritage of Hamakua and North Hawai‘i while providing the community with a foundation to thrive in the future.

Officials and members of the community untie the maile at the blessing and grand opening of the North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center’s Heritage Center in Honoka‘a. From left, Eileen Momi Naughton, PhD, coordinator of the Heritage Center; Farrah-Marie Gomes, director of the North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center and interim dean at UH Hilo

MEDIA RELEASE– After several days of rain, the skies cleared up with perfect timing for the November 16 blessing and grand opening of the North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center’s (NHERC) Heritage Center in Honoka‘a.

As an outreach center of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo (UHH), NHERC has continuously expanded since first opening in 2006. The NHERC Heritage Center represents the latest phase of expansion and has a vision of being an active educational facility that will foster pride and perpetuate the diverse heritage of Hamakua and North Hawai‘i while providing the community with a foundation to thrive in the future.

A crowd of over 100 individuals gathered for the community celebration. The Honoka‘a senior citizens set the tone with their beautiful songs and Lanakila Mangauil officially opened the program with traditional oli.

Distinguished guests graced the community with their presence or remarks. Delbert Nishimoto presented a message from U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye in which Senator Inouye shared, “History is the greatest teacher. The preservation of the age old traditions of indigenous cultures is of paramount importance as we guide our children and grandchildren. The resources provided at the NHERC Heritage Center will teach all who walk through your doors about the significance of the past and its impact on their future path.”

In a written message, Senator Daniel Akaka commented “A traditional saying of the Native Hawaiian people, ‘A‘ohe pau ka ‘ike i ka halau ho‘okahi, tells us not all knowledge is gained from a single source. The education our students gain in classroom is supplemented and enriched by their families, communities, and environment around them. This Heritage Center will serve as a source of bolstered knowledge, not only for those in academia, but for our entire community.”

Representative Mark Nakashima spoke about a community having vision and being able to match community needs with University resources through the NHERC Heritage Center. Vice Chancellor Simmons further expressed the University’s commitment to providing educational opportunities for North Hawai‘i communities and beyond.

Ahualoa resident and past Peace Corp member, Romel Dela Cruz, shared his thoughts from a community perspective about what the Heritage Center will provide for preservation and dissemination of culture through sharing of stories and experiences in the format of displays and exhibits.

Heritage Center Coordinator, Dr. Momi Naughton, shared how a Heritage Center advisory board was formed to help provide feedback, guidance and direction for the development of the Heritage Center. Naughton spoke about the diversity of the Heritage Center advisory board and how she sees her role as a facilitator for helping the community celebrate their history and heritage. She also acknowledged Dr. Quentin Tomich for his role in the preservation and historic documentation of the Hamakua area.

Kukuihaele resident, ‘I‘ini Kahakalau shared about how knowing one’s past, to understand one’s present, is key for ensuring hope for the future. Kahakalau is a current UHH student majoring in Hawaiian Studies and is a recipient of the prestigious UHH Chancellor’s Scholarship.

Farrah-Marie Gomes, NHERC Director and Interim Dean for the College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS), rounded out the program remarks. In the spirit of weaving together the Hawaiian culture, ranching and farming lifestyle and the plantation era, Gomes used lyrics from a country music song and personal experiences to ensure the community of the University’s commitment while challenging the community to take advantage of the opportunities that the Heritage Center is making possible.

Reverend Marcia Hartsock of the United Methodist Church in Honoka‘a performed the blessing of the NHERC Heritage which was followed by the untying of the maile lei.

All three rooms of the Heritage Center were then opened for public viewing. The Archives is intended to meet the needs of North Hawai‘i by keeping local cultural resources in our area so that it is easily accessible to the community. The Museum is yet to be developed with permanent exhibits – a planning grant has already been submitted for this purpose. The Gallery will provide changing exhibits.

The inaugural exhibit celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps in honor of those who helped with the training program in Waipi‘o Valley and those in our community who served in the Peace Corps. That exhibit was unveiled at the grand opening and will remain on display through the remainder of this year.

The NHERC Heritage Center will be open Monday through Fridays from 7:45am to 4:30pm, excluding state holidays. Student and volunteer opportunities are available. Please call Momi Naughton at NHERC for more information.

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