Matthew Therrien was an aspiring English major at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, with a dream of becoming an English professor. He also was a gifted poet, greatly loved son and treasured friend at the time of his tragic death in a car accident on April 6, 2014.
In his memory, Stephen and Gloria Gainsley, good friends of the Therrien family, have launched the Matthew Somchai Therrien Award with a generous monetary gift. Over time, other donors have also contributed to this endowment. The annual writing award recognizes outstanding students majoring in English at UH Hilo.