Beekeeping enthusiasts create the Ben and Fusae Fujise Beekeeping Endowed Scholarship

The endowment will provide financial support for students to pursue beekeeping interests and become active contributors to Hawai‘i’s agricultural community.

Vincent and Alison planting a 'Ōhi'a Lehua tree that will be named for them at the bee farm.
Vincent and Alison planting a ʻŌhiʻa Lehua tree that will be named for them at the bee farm.

Alison and Vincent Shigekuni are passionate about the environment and especially about bees. Since the Adopt-a-Beehive Program was launched at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo in 2011, the Shigekunis have supported a beehive named in honor of Alison’s parents, Ben and Fusae Fujise.

Now, they are building on their generosity and have created the Ben and Fusae Fujise Beekeeping Endowed Scholarship. This is the first endowed scholarship established for this innovative program and will support undergraduate students at UH Hilo.

Recently, they joined UH Hilo Professor of Entomology Lorna Tsutsumi for a visit to the UH Hilo Farm Laboratory in Panaʻewa to see the beehive farm.

“The Adopt-A-Beehive with Alan Wong program is extremely grateful and appreciative for the generosity of the Shigekunis,” says Tsutsumi. “Their endowment will provide much needed financial support for students so that they can pursue their beekeeping interests and become active contributors to Hawai‘i’s agricultural community. As an endowed fund, their gift will make a difference for Hawai‘i now and in the future.”

The Shigekunis hands-on experience at the UH Hilo farm deepened their commitment to the bee program.

“It is gratifying to be able to support this important program,” says Alison Shigekuni. “We feel connected to this project through the personal updates we get from the students about the work they are doing, and by attending events where we meet some of the students and other donors.”

In 2015, the Shigekunis set up the Albert and Dorothy Shigekuni Endowed Scholarship in honor of Vincent’s parents to benefit UH students who have never left home and are participating in the study abroad program. Vincent was a scholarship recipient in the 1970s when he was a student at UH and he remembers how much the support helped when he was struggling to make ends meet while finishing school.

 

Adapted from a media release and other media reports.