UH Hilo Alumni Assoc honors four at annual event; recognizes first graduating class

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Date: Friday, January 28, 2011
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Alumni & Friends Association hosts its 11th Annual Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards Banquet on Friday, February 25 at the UH Hilo Campus Center beginning at 5 pm. Tickets are $75 each or $600 for a table of eight. The RSVP deadline is February 14.

This year’s Distinguished Alumni honorees are Judge Ronald Ibarra (1966-68), Gregg Taketa, a CPA (1973-75), and community historian Wayne Subica (1978). The Distinguished Service honoree is AIA Emeritus, Russell Oda.

Ibarra is currently the Third Circuit Chief Judge for the Big Island. He previously served in the U.S. Army and the Army National Guard where he retired as a lieutenant colonel. Known for his tireless commitment to public service and high work ethics, Ibarra is currently serving his third consecutive 10-year appointment and presides over Civil Court and Drug Court. He was nominated by former Chief Judge Ronald Moon.

Taketa is a partner in the accounting firm Taketa, Iwata, Hara & Associates. He served four years as president of the Hawaiʻi Association of Public Accountants – Hawaiʻi State and assumed various officer positions on the Big Island Chapter. He specializes in business valuation and Low Income Housing Tax credits for developers of affordable housing and is a strong supporter of UH Hilo’s College of Business and Economics. Taketa was nominated by Dr. Marcia Sakai.

Subica is the author of seven books chronicling life on the Big Island. After graduating with an Agriculture degree in 1978, he began a career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. After retiring in 2003 he dedicated himself to his passion of researching and documenting the unique social, cultural and economic history of the Big Island. He has been collecting local memorabilia for more than 40 years and opened a museum in 2004 to showcase his collection. He was nominated by Clyde Matsunaga.

Oda founded Oda/McCarty Architects in 1967, which subsequently merged with Durrant-Media Five in 2004. He retired in 2010 and currently consults with Fleming and Associates, LLC, which acquired Oda’s founding company from Durrant-Media Five. An award winning architect, Oda’s work has been featured in numerous magazines, including Sunset Magazine, and has been responsible for many familiar buildings at UH Hilo and around Hilo, including the `Imiloa Astronomy Center, Central Pacific Bank, and the Hilo Judiciary Complex. He has been an ardent supporter of UH Hilo and in 2008 established an endowed scholarship in memory of his grandmother, Keru Oda. Oda was nominated by Gay Porter.

The evening will also recognize the Class of 1971 as it marks its 40th Anniversary of being the first graduates to receive baccalaureate degrees from UH Hilo as it transitioned from a two-year institution to a four-year university.

“The Distinguished Alumni & Service Awards banquet has become an integral component of the UH Hilo Alumni & Friends Association,” said Marketing and Alumni Director Yu Yok Pearring. “Our board members have worked hard over the years to develop this annual signature event to the level of success we are proud to achieve. Besides building on our tradition to honor and profile our outstanding alumni and supporters, we have been raising scholarship funds to provide opportunities for immediate relatives of UH Hilo alumni or alumni themselves returning for another degree.”

The banquet features a program emceed by UH Hilo Performing Arts faculty member Jackie Pualani Johnson, a prime rib buffet, a silent auction, and a live auction conducted by Newton Chu.

Tickets may be purchased by calling 974-7501 or 974-7643.

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