Categorized | Education, Featured

Hilo couple establishes scholarship for isle students

 

Irene and Ron Nagata are flanked by Mariko Miho, UH Foundation senior director of development for community colleges (left) and Barbara A. Arthurs, Hawaii Community College dean of Student Services. (Photo courtesy of UH Foundation)

Irene and Ron Nagata are flanked by Mariko Miho, UH Foundation senior director of development for community colleges (left) and Barbara A. Arthurs, Hawaii Community College dean of Student Services. (Photo courtesy of UH Foundation)

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Students enrolled in career or technical programs at Hawaii Community College are the beneficiaries of a new scholarship fund. 

Big Island residents Ronald and Irene Nagata recently established the Ronald H. and Irene M. Nagata Endowed Scholarship Fund with a gift of $25,000 to increase access and expand learning opportunities for students.  

Their endowed fund will provide financial assistance for tuition, books, equipment, and/or tools of the trade. 

“I would like to extend a mahalo nui to Ron and Irene for their generosity and aloha,” said Rockne Freitas, Hawaii Community College chancellor. “This gift will help eliminate the financial barriers many of our students face in pursuing a post secondary educational degree or certificate and allow them to take advantage of this window of opportunity we call education.”

Both Ronald and Irene attended the University of Hawaii at Hilo and the University of Hawaii at Manoa before they received their masters’ degrees at Kansas State University.  

After having been away for a time, they took up residency in Hilo where Irene taught at Hawaii Community College (Trade & Industries & Liberal Arts, professor emeritus) and Ronald started an architectural practice.

They raised three children: Robb, a graduate of the University of California at San Diego and University of Hawaii at Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine, is now an anesthesiologist; Renee, who started her schooling at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and went to Iowa State University Graduate School for Veterinary Medicine, is now a practicing veterinarian; and Rochelle, who started her schooling at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and went on to the University of Idaho Architecture Program and Massachusetts Institute of Technology for graduate school, is now a practicing architect and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) consultant. 

“Our family is making this gift to say mahalo to our community for the kokua they gave to us when we first moved back home to Hawaii,” Irene said.  

Scholarship criteria include students who are full-time undergraduates with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above. 

Preference will be given to a Big Island high school graduate and financial need is a criterion in making this award, although not necessarily as defined by federal guidelines.

Recipients will be selected by a committee appointed by the Chancellor of Hawaii Community College, and the number and amount of awards shall be determined by the selection committee based on the availability of funds. 

The University of Hawaii Foundation, a non-profit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaii System. Its mission is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawaii’s aspirations to benefit the people of Hawaii and beyond. 

— Find out more:

University of Hawaii Foundation: www.uhf. hawaii.edu

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