UH West Oʻahu scholarship recipients, UH Foundation donors honored

State Sen. Mike Gabbard congratulates several scholarship recipients.

UH West Oʻahu held its first ever Scholarship Celebration on Friday, congratulating scholarship recipients and giving them a chance to say thank you to donors who also attended the event.

About 60 people attended the luncheon, including almost 30 scholarship recipients, State Sen. Mike Gabbard, and City Councilmember Kymberly Pine. The luncheon was hosted by UH West Oʻahu and the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, the central fundraising organization for the UH System.

Sprinkled among the tables were donors who either contributed to scholarships or programs supporting UH West Oʻahu.

Roger Higa

Roger Higa

“UH West Oʻahu is very important to the state of Hawaiʻi,” said Roger M. Higa, a partner with New York Life Insurance Co. in Honolulu who provides scholarship support to students enrolled in UH West Oʻahu’s Risk Management program through a $25,000 endowment.

“It is providing opportunities that will enable young men and women to provide a better life for themselves, their families and the community.”

More than $150,000 of scholarship money was awarded to UH West Oʻahu students in the past year, according to Donna Vuchinich, UH Foundation president.  The luncheon celebrated about 100 scholarship recipients (see list below).

Lehua Gould, president of the Associated Students of University of Hawaiʻi West Oahu was among the recipients who had received multiple awards. She spoke at the luncheon telling a touching story of how she had wanted to attend a big-name school with a good football team. Although she was initially disappointed when she had to stay close to home and attend UH West Oʻahu, she noted her mother’s repeated aphorism that “It’s not about where you start, it’s where you finish.”

“I am overwhelmingly thankful to be part of this campus,” said Gould, who said UH West Oʻahu provided more than expected and that the scholarships she received helped her pursue two majors, become head of student government, and take on other activities without having to worry about money. She said she will graduate debt free.

“I am proud to be a product of this campus.”

Attendees were also treated to video produced by UH West Oʻahu’s Academy for Creative Media (which also receives support from donors) and by a talk by Sen. Gabbard, who represents Kapolei, Makakilo, portions of ʻEwa, Kalaeloa and Waipahu. Gabbard recounted his history with the campus and noted “it’s been a joy for me to be part of this institution.”

Sally Kanehe

Sally Kanehe

Chancellor Maenette Benham thanked people for coming the luncheon and said she hoped one day to preside over a similar event where 500 people were in attendance. Sally Kanehe, a donor who provided a $1 million endowment for UH West Oʻahu while her friend Gene Awakuni was the campus’ chancellor, said she is a supporter of Benham and her programs. 

“No one is happier than I am that she came out here,” said Kanehe. “Maenette Benham is a star in leadership for our host culture.”

Kanehe, who got a degree in social work, said she is also proud of giving money to a university that has an impact on its surrounding community, including educating students for well-paying jobs.

“It’s like doing social work with your philanthropy,” she said.


University of Hawai’i Regents Scholarship

Amber O’Leary

University of Hawai’i Presidential Scholarship

Jacqueline Kapu

University of Hawai’i – West O’ahu Chancellor Scholarship

Lehua Gould, Thalia Lawrence, Leiana Marie Alejado, Leiʻala Okuda, Jamie Alabanza,  Gellyn Flores, Brandie Kasaoka, Mya Moore, Dallas Pollard-Brownell, Korie Maeno, Kaitlin Kau        

Dr. Susan Chandler & Dr. David Chandler Scholarship

Ryan Sadayasu,  Canada Spees

Alfred Capelle & Byron Bender Scholarship

Yeanni Chen

Harold & Sandy Noborikawa Scholarship

Tyler Chanthakham

Ho Pang Scholarship

Lois Andersson

John Vernon & Shizuko Nakagawa Harry Scholarship

Marin Char

Loretta Fuddy Memorial Scholarship in Public Service

Tyra Rapozo

Varsity Victory Volunteers Scholarship

Shahid Byrd

Hawai’i Veterans Scholarship

Cristine Natividad, Mary Grace Dinong, Adriene Labrador,Tehani Luamanuvae, Marriah Tapia

Delta Construction Scholarship

Kamalani Soares, Tanner Johnson

Que Andrada Scholarship

Kaydence Eugenio-Babayan, David L. Batulayan

Francis Wong Berger Scholarship

Mary Burgess

UHWO OWG Humanities Scholarship

Chloe Pua Vierra, Debra Reyes

PTW Endowed Scholarship

Tehani Luamanuvae, Alexander Beaulac, Charmaine McCladdie

Henry & Dorothy Castle Early Childhood Scholarship

Katie Lewis, Shantel Stevens, Leycie Yoneda, Taylor Smith

Colonel Harold Jensen & Mrs. Lill Jensen Scholarship

Blossom Insillio, Pearlena Stone

Wo Family Foundation Scholarship

Jerrick Aguilar, Kaipolani Cabiles, Kacie Hamai

Walter Francis & Mary Dillingham Frear Scholarship

Gellyn Flores, Tristyn Wiehl

Antone & Edene Vidinha Scholarship

Tirah Brings, Rheif Callahan, Jeishabel Galano, Dawnie Peralta, Shantel Stevens

Wilma B. Schiner Scholarship

Marriah Tapia

Bookstore Scholarship

Teare Zick-Mariteragi

Wai’ale’ale Scholarship

Ayami Nakanishi, Letecia Martinez

Roy Murch Scholarship Fund

Michael Adler

University of Hawaii Scholarship Endowment

Tanner Johnson

Hemenway Scholarship

Tanya Leilani Keliikipi, Angela Kealakauihoni Lopes, Charlilani Kaheaku Malama, Tehani K Umiamaka, Fallon Lacio, Robbyn Delos Reyes, Chloe Vierra, Marin Char, Nalani Burton, Raezheen Pascua, Lois H Andersson, Kevin Bechayda, Sheila Estanique, Jensen Tailo, Blossom Insillio, Laura Lankford, Nalani Mataia

Pacific Links Hawaii Scholarship

Teare Zick-Mariteragi, Moana Clemons, Rishanna Pactol

Osher Reentry Scholarship

Mandi P Soriano, Ali Kaina, Nicole Endo, Loushell Mahoe, Nadine Lopeti, Jamie West

AES Hawaiʻi Scholarship

Claire Pate Prestoza, Michelle Perry

Fun Factory Scholarship

Brandie Kasaoka, Cody Tsukamoto

Haseko Hoakalei Scholarship

Brennalyn Kaopua-Medeiros

Roy Murch Scholarship Fund

Michael Adler

The Queen’s Health Systems Scholarship

Bianca Paishon, Michele Farias, Pricilla Ah You, Marriah Tapia, Micah Yogi, Shelly Ramelb, Jae-Dee Kaeo-Jeremiah, Shylee Souza, Anishalynn Ashby, Amy-Nicole Parilla, Kaimilani Chung, Keani Emiko Sato

Dr. Doris Ching Scholarship

Maele Seau


Images courtesy of UHWO Staff and UHWO Staff