Sep 022016
 

By Chancellor Don Straney.

Margaret Ushijima

Margaret Ushijima

A general student support fund is being established at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo to honor the late Margaret Ushijima and her legacy of service at UH. The fund will be used to assist UH Hilo students, especially those who are first generation college students and those in financial need.

The Margaret Ushijima Fund for Student Assistance and Support is a fund in perpetuity—continuing Margaret’s work “forever”—and will be administered by the vice chancellor for student affairs.

Margaret’s legacy of service to UH lives on through her gift, bestowed to the Richardson Law School at UH Mānoa and UH Hilo, a lasting reminder of a woman who had a profound impact on so many people in Hawai‘i and beyond.

Margaret Ushijima had been counseling students on the importance of higher education for many years as UH Hilo’s dean of students before retiring in 1980. But she didn’t actually retire—she decided to live out her belief in higher education and go to law school, at age 51.

Her dear friend Janet Fujioka says Margaret was a person of great conviction who always supported education and so it was a remarkable decision that when she “retired,” she went back to school.

Margaret received her bachelor of arts in social science and her master of arts in social work before beginning her career at UH Hilo. But along with her belief in the importance of higher education was a strong sense of social justice and equality, which eventually led her to the UH Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law.

After obtaining her juris doctor degree, Margaret joined her husband to form the family law firm, Ushijima & Ushijima. In the 1970s, Margaret and Janet were involved in a movement that pushed for the ratification of the equal rights amendment in Hawai‘i. The two embarked on an extensive campaign throughout the islands, speaking at numerous engagements on the importance of equality. Hawai‘i later became the first state to ratify the amendment.

Margaret’s life is inspirational in so many ways. Raised on a plantation on Hawai‘i Island, her parents were born in Hawai‘i in the 1890s and did not have the chance to complete high school and attend college. Yet they supported her to pursue her own dreams and aspirations. Jumpstarted with this parental support and dedication, Margaret embodied the “gambare spirit” and values passed down to her from her parents.

As we see with Margaret’s generosity in her gift to UH, behind every support fund or scholarship at UH Hilo is an individual or a company that has a connection to the university and a desire to help our students. People share their estate with UH Hilo because they may see it as an investment in the future or they may realize the importance of an education and want to pay forward the opportunities given them while at UH Hilo as a student, staff or faculty member.

It’s clear what a vitally important role private donors can play in opening up access to higher education, supporting students while they complete their education and contribute to their communities.

On behalf of our students, I’d like to take this opportunity to express gratitude to our donors. I hope members of our university and local communities, business people, alumni, and others are inspired by Margaret Ushijima’s example of making an investment in the future of our island by funding student support services and scholarships.

Aloha,
Don Straney

Nov 052015
 

The annual UH Foundation Fall Calling Campaign began this month.

UHF

Chancellor Straney visits with students at the UH Foundation call center on O‘ahu.

Chancellor Don Straney recently visited the UH Foundation call center on O‘ahu to visit with student fundraisers and share information about the various programs and activities at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. The annual UH Foundation Fall Calling Campaign began this month.

Chancellor Straney encourages the UH community to donate and support UH Hilo.

For more information, contact Dale Hagadone at the UH Foundation.

Nov 252014
 

UH Hilo needs to offer many opportunities for students to access scholarships to ensure that every young person on our island has access to higher education. To achieve that, we need the community’s help.

By Chancellor Don Straney 

Hilo sealStudents at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo are increasingly dependent on financial aid. While UH system policy established in 2011 called for an increase in the amount of tuition that is used to provide financial aid to our students, we recognize that even modest increases in costs can be a barrier to some. A high priority for us is to keep the UH system accessible to all eligible students in the state.

UH Hilo is blessed with donated funds for scholarships and other forms of aid that offset the impact of tuition increases. But we will need to increase scholarships over the next few years if we want to remain accessible to all our island students. To make college affordable to all, this must be a priority for our campus and for our community.

We know the university and local communities understand and care about the need to give access to as many students as possible. Studies show people who possess a college degree have a much higher lifetime earning potential than those who do not. People with a degree are better able to contribute to or build healthy communities.

But as tuition and other costs rise, higher education becomes less affordable to students from middle- and low-income families. Because of this, we need to do everything we can to give all qualified students access to the funds they need to attend the university.

Let me run some numbers by you.

We awarded $46 million in financial aid to our students last year. This is a tremendous increase from 10 years ago when we awarded $15 million. The bulk of the $46 million, almost 75%, is from state and federal grants and loans.

Institutional aid, which is the percentage of tuition I mentioned above (our intake of tuition was about $35 million last year), was increased from 15% to a cap of 20% of total tuition. It goes to need- and merit-based aid, and comes to about 11% of the total aid awarded.

Some students arrive at UH Hilo with financial aid they’ve received on their own. This would include sources like scholarships from their hometown Rotary Clubs or parents’ loans. This is about 12% of total aid.

The scholarships we are hoping to build are today less than 3% of the total aid awarded.

How do we increase financial aid for our students? How do we make UH Hilo accessible to all qualified students in our state?

UH Hilo needs to offer many opportunities for students to access scholarships to ensure that every young person on our island has access to higher education. To achieve that, we need the community’s help.

Behind every scholarship is an individual or a company that has a connection to UH Hilo and a desire to help our students. Individuals and organizations donate funds to UH Hilo for scholarships because they may see it as an investment in the future; scholarships enable more students to prepare to enter the workforce. Alumni donate funds because they may realize the importance of an education and want to pay forward the opportunities given them while at UH Hilo.

Longtime Hawaiʻi County Councilman Jimmy Arakaki and his wife Grace made a donation to establish an endowed scholarship to benefit business students. Audrey Furukawa, after her retirement from UH Hilo, established a scholarship endowment supporting study abroad opportunities. A charitable trust helps grow the Helene Hale “Citizen of the World” Scholarship Endowment.

It’s clear what a vitally important role private donors can play in opening up access to higher education. Scholarships support students to complete their education and contribute to their communities.

On behalf of our students, I’d like to take this opportunity to express gratitude to our donors. I hope members of our university and local communities, business people, alumni, and others will be inspired to make an investment in the future of our island by funding scholarships.

Oct 162014
 

Chancellor Straney shared the news about the Office of the Governor releasing $33 million for the construction of the new facilities for UH Hilo College of Pharmacy.

UH Calling Center

Chancellor Straney stands with Sarah Sejalbo and Jonathan Neyland, student callers.

Chancellor Don Straney stopped by the calling center at the University of Hawai‘i Foundation in Honolulu on Tuesday to kick off this year’s calling campaign to UH Hilo alumni.

“Thank you for coming to speak with us!” wrote on of the students on the UH Foundation’s Facebook page. “I can not wait to share all the wonderful information with the alumni! Thank you also for the delicious pizza!”

While with the students, Chancellor Straney shared the news about the Office of the Governor releasing $33 million for the construction of the new facilities for UH Hilo College of Pharmacy. The funds are for construction of a new building with classrooms, teaching and research laboratories, and offices, meeting the requirements of the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education standards and guidelines. When complete, it will house UH Hilo’s largest graduate and doctoral programs on campus. Prior to 2007, Hawai‘i was one of only a few states in the nation that did not provide pharmacy education. The construction of the College of Pharmacy building will allow local students to remain in Hawai‘i and eventually help the state’s need for more professionals in this field.

He also shared the news about several new programs being planned to benefit our local communities, for example, a proposed flight training center and associated degree programs to be offered through UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College. Also planned are a Master of Arts in Heritage Management, devoted to stewardship of the history of the island and its people, and a bachelor’s degree in General Engineering, where students are trained broadly across all disciplines of engineering.

One of Chancellor Straney’s top priorities is giving students the best learning community in modern facilities. The new Student Services Building recently opened giving students a one-stop service from freshman orientation through graduation, all under one roof. The center houses all the programs students need to support their college success: Admissions, Registrar, Financial Aid, Advising, Career Development Services, Counseling, and the new Health Promotion Program.

The new Hale‘ōlelo College of Hawaiian Language also recently opened. The building houses classrooms, offices, library, and a performing arts auditorium. “It is both functional and extraordinarily beautiful,” says the Chancellor. “This building represents, to the members of UH Hilo, our dedication to being a Hawaiian university, a Hawaiian place of learning, a university where Hawaiian language and values inform what we do.”

Jun 272014
 
L-R: Dean Cevallos, Principal Kea‘au High School; Carrie Larger, Career & Post-High School Counseling & Guidance, Kamehameha Schools; Brandon Ledward, ‘Āina-Based Education Department Extension Educational Services, Kamehameha Schools; Matt Platz, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, UH Hilo; Althea Magno, Kea‘au High School teacher; Don Straney, Chancellor, UH Hilo

L-R: Dean Cevallos, Principal Kea‘au High School; Carrie Larger, Career & Post-High School Counseling & Guidance, Kamehameha Schools; Brandon Ledward, ‘Āina-Based Education Department Extension Educational Services, Kamehameha Schools; Matt Platz, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, UH Hilo; Althea Magno, Kea`au High School teacher; Don Straney, Chancellor, UH Hilo

On June 22, the first cohort of 25 students, all recent graduates from Kea‘au High School in Puna who will start their freshman year the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo or Hawai‘i Community College this fall, started in the Kupa ʻĀina 2014 Summer Bridge Program. Program participants are enrolled in college-level English and Math courses, earning college credit through a rigorous schedule of study for six weeks. The students have full access to advising, counseling, and tutoring.

A partnership between UH Hilo, Kamehameha Schools, Keaʻau High School, UH Hilo, and the UH Foundation has brought about this exciting new summer program designed to prepare new local students interested in pursuing studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics—the STEM disciplines—and natural resources fields.

“We are very excited about this new program and grateful to Kamehameha Schools for their partnership,” says UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney. “Through innovative programs like this we will be able to improve retention and graduation rates, two to four year college transfer rates, and representation of Native Hawaiian and local students in Agriculture and STEM fields.”

Program funding comes from a $158,154 grant from the Kamehameha Schools Extension Education Services Division and a $5,000 grant from the Gloria Kosasa Gainsley Fund at the Hawai‘i Community Foundation. Their support will fund participants’ room and board, transportation, supplies, as well as staff and teaching assistants to implement the program.

First Kupa-‘Āina Residential Program Participants:

  • Anuhea Ahuna
  • Michael Alonzo
  • Austin Anderson
  • Roger Bryant
  • Amanda Chiquita
  • Ivan Costa
  • Ronald Dalere
  • Lorelei Marie Domingo
  • James Franklin
  • Harley Gapol
  • Leona Gicheg
  • Beverly Ann Gorospe
  • Tristan Haskell
  • Zachary Kakazu
  • Esa Kin
  • Christian Lawson
  • Blaize Mae-Adrian
  • Bronson Mae-Adrian
  • Lowell Matias
  • Jordan Pedersen-Fukunaga
  • Deja Sherwood
  • Noah Stancil
  • Birolena Vaoga
  • Nyree Watai
  • Nathan Wong
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