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By Evie Lindblom - Reporter. October 25, 2018 - 2:00 am
The Hawai’i Pacific University (HPU) Trustees Dinner, hosted at Waialae Country Club on Oct. 16, showed appreciation for those giving tremendous support to the university.
As the sun was setting, the HPU International Vocal Ensemble and Orchestra started the night off with a rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Guests began the evening with cocktail hour, ushered by student staff. Students worked diligently with Megan Hiramoto, director of alumni relations and special events, to bring her vision for the evening alive.
Hiramoto explained the core of the annual event, “The Trustees Dinner is a time for the university’s largest supporters to come together. The university is so fortunate to have trustees, companies and families in the local community that believe in it and the work it is doing.”
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, alumna of HPU, was in attendance to receive the Paul C.T Loo Distinguished Alumni Award for her achievements in politics.
President John Gotanda thanked the chairman of the board of trustees, Richard Hunter, and other influential community members for their continuous support.
Hunter acknowledged the extensive student involvement in this year’s fundraiser and noted, “I think it is very good to have student involvement for both sides. It is important for them as well to see that they have strong support in the community.”
As evening turned to night, guests made their way inside the elegantly decorated dining hall.
Allison Gough, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts, shared her thoughts on the increased student involvement in this year’s event.
“The students are after all the focus of what we all do and I think it is great for the people who are invested in the institution to see what’s at the heart of our mission. It is great also for students to talk to trustees and alumni who are here and act in this life long mentorship capacity.”
Cards with quotes from the students were placed at each seat. The cards shared the thoughts about the experiences students had at the university.
Karen Huffman, one of the trustees, loved the idea of student quote cards and added, “It was just fascinating to me because I like to hear why they chose HPU, what they think of the programs that they’re in and their overall impressions of Hawaii.”
Dinner was served buffet style with awards, speeches and other acknowledgements taking place throughout the night.
Hiramoto added, “It was really nice to see everyone in one room mingling, catching up with each other and enjoying a night out. People were still chatting with each other an hour after the program.”
Gough summarized the core message of the event, “I think HPU is more than just a four-year experience, it’s a lifelong experience.”