Chaminade University’s Annual Intercollegiate Athletics Gala hit its decade year on March 15 and was a night 600 attendees won’t soon forget. Family, friends, colleagues, student-athletes and university supporters gathered at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel to honor the 2018 Silversword Hall of Fame inductees – Dr. Edison H. Miyawaki and Bill Villa.
In the hotel’s Hawaii Ballroom, guests could be heard chatting with enthusiasm before the program started. Emcee Felipe Ojastro welcomed guests and started the high-spirited program by introducing the honorees. The crowd gave a standing ovation as each made his way to the stage.
Following the initial introductions and Hawaiian ‘oli “He Mele No Kaminaka,” the evening’s program began with dinner and entertainment. Chaminade President Dr. Lynn Babington gave remarks congratulating the two honorees as well as thanking guests for their continuous support of Chaminade and its athletics program. Women’s softball’s Kaitlin Kim ’18 also took the stage sharing her experiences as a student-athlete and how generous contributors help provide a word-class education with a robust athletics experience.
Next was the main event, the induction of new members into the Silversword Hall of Fame: Dr. Edison Miyawaki and Bill Villa.
Dr. Edison K. Miyawaki, Jr. and Kawika Villa introduced their fathers to those in attendance. Both sons shared special memories of their fathers and how their love for sports and Chaminade has help build the athletics program to where it is today.
Dr. Miyawaki – known as “Doc” – is the driving force behind the Intercollegiate Athletic Gala. Under his direction, he created the event in 2008 when he joined Chaminade’s Board of Regents. Since then, the event has raised over $1.5 million for student-athletes and programming. Dr. Miyawaki is the president of Pali Corp. and was the first Japanese-American to become part owner of an NFL team. He’s put the same energy and commitment into philanthropy as his career, establishing scholarships for young athletes attending NFL training camps and leading education-centered capital projects.
Born and raised in Honolulu, Villa grew up a multi-sport athlete. He played for Kamehameha Schools Kapālama and the University of Hawaii. His love of sports led him to become the athletics director at Assets School and then Mid-Pacific Institute. In 2008, he was named the first full-time director of athletics at Chaminade. He’s worked tirelessly to expand the program, improve and modernize facilities, recruit top-notch coaching, training and leadership staff and launch the annual Chaminade Golf Tournament athletics scholarship fundraiser.
The athletics gala program concluded with the honorees being presented a Pahi Kaua Sword, crafted from the bill of a swordfish by alumnus Umi Kai ’73, and Dr. Miyawaki and Villa both expressing their gratitude.
Dr. Miyawaki thanked everyone who has supported Chaminade over the years as well as those who helped make the Athletics Gala a success saying he could not be more proud of what the event has accomplished over the past decade. Crediting his father for instilling values of hard work and determination, Dr. Miyawaki enjoys believing in something that no one else believes can be done. He recognized his family, his son who along with his wife and granddaughter traveled from Missouri to celebrate his induction, and closed with saying that Chaminade is a special place because of the people.
Like Dr. Miyawaki, Villa appreciates the many opportunities given to him along his career path. He urged student-athletes to put in the hard work and earn from experiences to thrive in the community. “You just need a chance like I was given to succeed, and with that chance amazing things can happen,” he said. Villa ended by thanking Dr. Miyawaki for being a “visionary and someone he will forever cherish as a friend.”
The annual Athletics Gala is instrumental to the success of Chaminade’s athletics program and its student-athletes. This year’s event set a new contribution record, raising over $300,000, supporting its 10 sports programs and over 140 student-athletes.