One of the most rewarding parts about donating is seeing your donation in action. As more than 70 donors witnessed on February 20, a donation to Chaminade has tangible benefits and changes the lives of our students.
Each year, the Mahalo Scholarship Luncheon brings together donors who have supported our scholarship fund with students who have received a scholarship. It’s an opportunity for the students to thank their scholarship donors personally, and let them know just how much their support has made a difference in their educational journey.
“Our students really understand and appreciate the choice every one of our donors made to invest in them,” says Dawn Johnson, scholarship manager at Chaminade and organizer of the luncheon. “Most of them have shared that they intend to one day ‘pay forward’ the gift of scholarship they received while at Chaminade.”
The event started with an oli from the students to the donors. Following, the students draped lei on the donors in gratitude, and then sought out the individuals who created the scholarship they received to join them for lunch.
Leslie Blount attends the event each year representing the Richard T. and Leslie N. Blount Scholarship for military students and dependents. The scholarship was established by her late husband, Richard, right before he fell ill. “This event is one of my major highlights,” says Leslie. “I just love interacting with the students. They never seize to impress me with all of their accomplishments and I’m just so grateful that they are living my husband’s dream. It gives me such joy to know that his wish to help students connected to the military is being fulfilled.”
Chaminade University has more than 100 scholarships that have been generously established by individual donors and foundations. Many of them are endowed, and several are renewable investments that are replenished each year. This year alone, our students received nearly $2.3 million in donor-funded scholarships.
Ke‘alohi Canady, a fourth-year business administration major and first-generation college student from Honolulu, spoke first-hand about how much her scholarship has impacted her time as a student.
“I am beyond grateful and so fortunate to have been awarded a scholarship,” said Ke‘alohi. “I’m really lucky that I don’t have to struggle or work crazy hours just to finance my education. It allows me to have a sustainable work-study life balance, meaning that I can devote my time to soaking up all the information in my studies. I was able to have this opportunity because of you all.”
Edward Adachi, a third-year environmental science major, spoke to the individual transformation he has undertaken while at Chaminade. He was raised on the island of Oahu by his maternal grandmother, and he has always sought to become a person that would make her proud.
“I came to college thinking I had life all figured out,” he began his address to the room. “I had made a list in high school of what college I wanted to go to, what degree I wanted to pursue, how I would obtain my career and what I would do in retirement—at the age of 18, I had 50 years planned out. My friend once told me, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. Well, God must have been rolling on the floor when he heard mine.”
Edward entered Chaminade as a business administration major. Within the first year and a half, after rethinking that decision several times, he finally landed on environmental science. He’s now planning a graduate degree in public health, and looks forward to a career educating communities across the pacific on how to be healthy.
His time at Chaminade has introduced him to a world full of possibilities and opportunities. He has met friends from all over the world, from all walks of life, and he’s traveled to the mainland and throughout the Pacific. He also discovered his faith at Chaminade, and now identifies proudly as a Roman Catholic.
“To be at a school that is so dynamic motivates me to be just as dynamic,” said Edward. “To live, is to change. Thank you for changing my life, and the lives of all of our students.”
To learn more about how you can support a student at Chaminade, contact Dawn Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.