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.
“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.”
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 HAWAII-WEST OAHU SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
University of Hawai’i Regents Scholarship
University of Hawai’i Presidential Scholarship
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
Harold & Sandy Noborikawa Scholarship
Ho Pang Scholarship
John Vernon & Shizuko Nakagawa Harry Scholarship
Loretta Fuddy Memorial Scholarship in Public Service
Varsity Victory Volunteers Scholarship
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
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
Ayami Nakanishi, Letecia Martinez
Roy Murch Scholarship Fund
University of Hawaii Scholarship Endowment
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
Roy Murch Scholarship Fund
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