2013 UH Hilo Distinguished Alumni & Service Awards Banquet is Feb 22

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Date: Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo 13th Annual Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards Banquet will be held on Friday, February 22 at the UH Hilo Campus Center Dining Room beginning at 5 pm. Tickets are $75 each or $600 for a table of eight.

This year’s Distinguished Alumni honorees are Bishop Eric Matsumoto, Dr. Larry Kimura and Valerie Takata. The Distinguished Service honoree is Gerald De Mello.

Eric Matsumoto is the 16th Bishop of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaiʻi, the state’s largest Buddhist denomination. He is the third youngest minister in the history of the mission to assume the title of bishop. Born and raised in Honaunau on Hawaiʻi Island, he is a graduate of Konawaena High School and a recipient of the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship. Matsumoto has a master’s degree in Shin Buddhism from Ryukoku University and was resident minister of Moiliili Hongwanji on O`ahu for eight years. He has also served at Hawaiʻi Island temples in Paauilo, Honoka`a, Waimea and Kohala.

Dr. Larry Kimura is recognized as the grandfather of the movement to perpetuate the use of Hawaiian language in modern Hawai’i, and has a PhD in Indigenous Language Revitalization. As an assistant professor of Hawaiian Language and Culture, Kimura has spent 20 years creating audio documentation of the last native Hawaiian language speakers. He is co-founder of Hawai’i’s Punana Leo Hawaiian Language Immersion Schools and chair of the Hawaiian Lexicon Committee to create new Hawaiian words. Kimura also serves as Hawaiian Cultural Planner and Interpreter for the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center.

Valerie Takata is the State of Hawaiʻi, DOE Complex Area Superintendent for the Hilo and Waiakea Districts. Prior to her appointment in February 2002, Takata served as Hawaiʻi District Superintendent and Deputy District Superintendent. During her administration at Keonepoko Elementary School, she was selected as the State of Hawai’i’s National Distinguished Principal. Takata is a pioneer of the Huiana Student Internship Initiative, which is the state’s only islandwide internship program. She has been credited with co-founding a landmark business-education partnership, establishing an alliance between businesses, the community, UH Hilo and the Department of Education.

Gerald De Mello is the former Director of University Relations at UH Hilo, a position he held for 21 years. He previously taught Sociology for 15 years at UH Hilo and Hawai’i Community College, where his efforts were recognized with the Excellence in Teaching Award. Following his tenure as an educator, De Mello was East Hawai’i Administrative Assistant to Governor John Waihe`e. Under his directorship, the University has attracted funding and resources for a new classroom building, a Marine Science Building, a Student Life Center and a new Science and Technology Building. He also helped to establish the North Hawai’i Education and Resource Center, the College of Pharmacy, a new College of Hawaiian Language building and the Student Housing Complex University Village Phase I.

Call the UH Hilo Marketing and Alumni Office at 974-7501 or 974-7643 to purchase tickets. Information is also available at www.uhh.hawaii.edu/alumni.

The event is sponsored by the University’s Alumni and Friends Association.


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