UH-Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney and the UH Foundation recently brought scholarship recipients and donors together during UH-Hilo’s annual scholarship banquet celebrating academic excellence and philanthropy.
Thus far UH-Hilo has awarded nearly $500,000 in private scholarships to 175 students enrolled for the 2010-2011 academic year.
“Every privately funded scholarship makes a difference,” said Jeff Scofield, UH-Hilo Director of Financial Aid. “Scholarships are even more critical in challenging economic times. This year, the financial aid office has already processed 6,500 applications, 800 more than last year.”
UH-Hilo has the highest percentage of students receiving aid of any of the ten campuses in the UH system. 65 percent of UH Hilo’s 4,000 students depend upon some form of financial aid to fund the cost of attending university. For first-year students at UH Hilo, the percentage is even higher — 74 percent of freshmen are receiving financial aid.
Speaking during the program, endowed scholarship donor Mitchell Dodo, vice president/operations manager of Dodo Mortuary, shared how he and his wife, as well as his mother, father, sister, grandfather and other family members, are all products of the University of Hawaii System who have remained in the state to launch their careers and utilize the education gained at UH to serve the community.
“Tonight, however, is not about me or my family,” he said. “It’s about those who are honored tonight by receiving a scholarship … we are simply pleased to be able to provide another tool to help make a college degree a reality for those who are willing to work for it.”
Margaret Shiba, senior director of development at UH-Hilo, acknowledged the support of an anonymous donor who made a groundbreaking $1.5 million gift to UH-Hilo in April 2009.
With part of this gift, UH-Hilo created the “Student Access and Successs” matching gift program, offering dollar-for-dollar matches to donors of new scholarships. Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of many local donors, this program has raised $600,000 to date, with $400,000 still available to double the value of additional donations.
For more information on how you can support UH Hilo and leverage your gift with the “Student Access and Success” matching gift program, contact the UH-Hilo Office of Development at (808) 933-1945.