Distinguished alumni event raises over $7,000 for scholarships

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Date: Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

An overflow crowd of nearly 400 people attended the University of Hawaii at Hilo Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards Banquet and helped raise more than $7,000 for scholarship awards. The event was held on Friday, February 23, 2007 at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.

The annual event honors outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to the University, local community and world-at-large. In addition to honoring alumni and various friends of the University, the event helps raise funds for the Alumni and Friends Association scholarship fund through a silent auction. Combined with the annual alumni golf tournament in October, the proceeds will fund at least three $1,000 scholarships and help the Association meet its future scholarship goals.

The first three scholarship awards were presented in fall 2005, and are given each year to students who are immediate relatives of UH Hilo alumni or returning UH Hilo graduates intending to pursue undergraduate or graduate degree programs at UH Hilo. A total of six such scholarships have been awarded to date. Individuals interested in applying for a scholarship can obtain an application form from the UH Hilo Financial Aid Office.

Receiving Distinguished Alumni Awards this year were Maurice Kaya, chief technology officer for the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, Russell Okata, executive director of the Hawai`i Government Employees Association, and Yukio Takeya, president and principal broker of Ala Kai Realty.

Distinguished Service Awards were presented to State Senator Lorraine R. Inouye, and Derek Kurisu, executive vice president of Perishable Operations at KTA Superstores.

This year's event also included the first-ever presentation of the Alumni Award for Distinction in Military or Public Service. The award was presented posthumously to Army Sergeant Steve Sakoda, who died in the line of duty last year during deployment to Iraq.

Anyone interested in submitting nominations for the 2008 Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards, or seeking additional information, may contact the Marketing and Alumni Office at 974-7501 or 974-7643.

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