UH Hilo recognized at PBN’s Business of Pride Awards

Date: Monday, November 15, 2021
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 932-7669

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo was recently represented at Pacific Business News’ 4th annual Business of Pride Awards, held October 21, 2021 on O`ahu. The event recognized LGBTQ leaders, companies, and allies in Hawaiʻi who are successful in their careers, active in their communities, and advocates for inclusion and equality.

Individuals who were honored in the 2021 installment of the event included Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Farrah-Marie Gomes, who was recognized for making the workplace more inclusive and being a strong advocate for UH Hilo students. Other honorees represented the film industry, health care, real estate, and county government.

“In addition to policy work and administrative changes early on in her career at UH Hilo, Gomes has been creative in doubling the number of student employees working in the university’s LGBTQ+ Center,” PBN said in its announcement of selectees. “She preserved its physical office and secured funding to increase its operating budget and grow events. Most recently, Gomes helped add counseling services campus-wide through a free app.”

Gomes has also been successful in securing philanthropic support to establish the first endowed scholarship for LGBTQ+ students across the UH System as well as securing funding to increase the LGBTQ+ Center’s operating budget by $25,000 a year for the next four years. The $1 million gift will allow the awarding of approximately $40,000 in scholarships to LGBTQ+ students starting in Fall 2022.

“Now more than ever, our students are met with many more obstacles along their academic journey and providing the holistic support they need can feel daunting,” Gomes noted. “As an institution of higher education, we have an important role of staying focused on student learning, engagement and development as that is central to our purpose.

“At the same time, we must also remember that two of the best ways to support success of our students is for us to remain committed to sustaining an inclusive campus climate and to ensure equitable access and opportunity for all students,” she added. “This is what makes the work we do worth all the effort. It’s a pleasure to serve not just our students, but our entire campus and community, because an inclusive workplace has benefits that stretch much farther than the boundaries of our institution.”

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