Categorized | Sports, Volleyball

Hilo doctor creates UH Hilo athletic scholarship

From left: Tino Reyes, interim head volleyball coach; Dr. John Uohara; Dexter Irvin, athletic director. (Photo courtesy of UH Hilo)


Prominent Hilo obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. John K. Uohara is building on his legacy in the community and funding a new permanently endowed scholarship for Vulcan Athletics.

The Uohara Family Endowed Excellence Scholarship in Women’s Volleyball will support members of the women’s volleyball team at UH Hilo who demonstrate academic excellence off the court with a minimum 3.5 GPA.

Uohara launched the fund with a $20,000 gift, which UH Hilo has matched dollar-for-dollar, thanks to a limited-time matching gift program made possible by a donation from an anonymous donor.

Uohara has volunteered as team physician for the UH Hilo women’s volleyball team since 1979. As the athletic department grew, Uohara extended his services to the women’s teams in cross country, tennis, softball, golf and soccer.

A native of Hilo, he earned a B.S. at Lewis and Clark College and an M.D. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine. He did his internship and residency at Kapiolani Women’s and Children’s Medical Center, was named a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and is currently on staff at Hilo Medical Center.

Last month, Uohara was inducted into the Vulcan Athletic Hall of Fame and celebrated for his longtime service to UH Hilo.

In remarks at that event, he shared a moving story about the fulfillment of family dreams, describing his great-grandfather, who had scant medical training but delivered babies on the sugar plantation, and his grandfather, Shinichi Uohara, who had only a third grade education but whose fond hope was to someday see a qualified doctor in the family.

John Uohara eventually fulfilled his grandfather’s dream, becoming a member of the very first graduating class of 1975 at JABSOM.

By endowing a scholarship in his family name, Uohara is perpetuating this legacy and helping young people from other families to fulfill their dream of attaining a higher education.

UH Hilo Athletic Director Dexter Irvin said, “Dr. Uohara has recognized the tremendous need for scholarships for our student athletes. His generous contribution acknowledges both our academic success and the success we have had with women’s volleyball. I hope his generosity sets the example for others who love UH Hilo to consider endowing scholarships as we launch our new Vulcan Legacy Scholarship initiative. Our ultimate goal is to create a scholarship endowment for every single one of our team sports, and with foresight and planning we can get there.”

The University of Hawaii Foundation, a nonprofit 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. The foundation do this by raising private philanthropic support, managing private investments and nurturing donor and alumni relationships.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo is a comprehensive university with five degree-granting colleges, six master’s programs and four doctoral programs. UH Hilo strives to integrate culture and science, offer hands-on learning opportunities to its students and use the Island of Hawaii as a natural learning laboratory.

Enrollment has doubled since 1980 to more than 4,000 students coming from all 50 states and more than 40 countries.

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