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Date: Thursday, February 1, 2007
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, 974-7642

For Immediate Release

UH Hilo Alumni Assoc honors distinguished alumni

The 7th Annual University of Hawaii at Hilo Alumni and Friends Association Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards Banquet is set for Friday, February 23 at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel’s Moku ‘Ola Banquet Ballroom. No host-cocktails and a silent auction to fund alumni scholarships begin at 5 p.m. Tickets are $45 each or $350 for a table of eight. Reservation deadline is Friday, February 16.

Recipients of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards are Mr. Russell Okata, (UH Hilo ’67 & ’68) executive director of Hawai‘i Government Service Association (HGEA), Mr. Maurice Kaya (UH Hilo ’67 & ’68), chief technology officer at the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and Mr. Yukio Takeya (UH Hilo ’64 & ’65), owner of Ala Kai Realty.

Receiving this year’s Distinguished Service Awards are Mr. Derek Kurisu, executive vice president at KTA Super Stores and State Senator Lorraine Inouye (D-1st District).

An Alumni Award for Distinction in Military and Public Service will be presented posthumously to U.S. Army Sergeant Steve M. Sakoda, a UH Hilo alumnus who was killed in Iraq April 29, 2006 while deployed with the 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Each year, the Association grants one or more Distinguished Alumni Awards to individuals based on the nominee’s professional accomplishments, service to the community, and/or service to the University. Actual achievements within these three categories can take on many different forms. Nominees must have completed at least 50% of his or her educational program at UH Hilo, or at least one year at UH Hilo for those who attended the institution prior to 1973 when UH Hilo was a two-year college.

The Distinguished Service Award is given to those whose contributions to UH Hilo have benefited the University in numerous and significant ways. Nominees must have demonstrated consistent contributions to the University over a reasonable period of time, and whose contributions have had a positive impact on the students and/or the University.

Last year’s Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards were presented to Dr. Gregory Chun, president of Bishop Holdings Corporation and general manager of Keauhou Resort; Dr. Henry Lee Loy, a medical doctor in Hilo; Mr. James Melody, a teacher at Honoka’a High School; Mr. Robert Fujimoto, former chairman of HPM Building Supply’s Board of Directors; and Mr. Dwight Takamine, attorney-at-law and state representative (D-1st District).

Past recipients include Mr. Jerry Chang, Ms. Laura Figueira, Dr. Cheryl Leialoha, Mr. Kelly Moran, Dr. Sneha Sood, Mr. Barry Taniguchi, the Kanaka‘ole-Kanahele Family, Dr. David Howell, Mr. Harvey Tajiri, Mr. Norman Mizuguchi, Mr. John Coney, Mr. Kalani Kahalepau‘ole, Mr. Dennis K. W. Lee, Dr. Martin B. Dickman, Ms. Maile Andrade, Mr. Wayne Miyao, Mr. Toshimasa Takahashi and Mrs. Harumi Takahashi, Mr. David Shapiro, Mrs. Chiyono Kinoshita, Mrs. Leila Kanno, Mr. Milton Pavao, Mr. Quirino Antonio, Ms. Jodi Ferreira, Mr. Wayne Metcalf, Mr. Toshio Serizawa, Mr. Peter MacDonald and Mr. Leonard Decambra.

For reservations or more information, call 974-7643 or 974-7501.


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