Chaminade’s Heritage Awards recognize members of the Silversword community who accomplish outstanding work in pursuit of the University’s mission and make it a better place to learn and to work.
This year’s recipients are no exception.
Men’s Basketball Head Coach Eric Bovaird received the 2021 Chaminade Award for remarkable contributions to the University by a member of the faculty or professional staff. Nominators described Bovaird as not only a coach, but as a mentor and community leader who cares deeply about ensuring his student-athletes succeed on the court and off—and go on to reach their goals.
“His willingness to take young men in from all walks of life and teach them how to be positive contributors to society through basketball, his experiences and faith have altered the life paths of so many and have made our community and their communities back home better places,” one nominator said. Another marveled at Bovaird’s ability to deliver as a winning coach while he also mentors and develops young men into high character adults, calling his value to the community “undeniable.”
In accepting the award, Bovaird said he was surprised to be selected and added that working at Chaminade “doesn’t feel like a job to me, it’s a passion.” He said that Marianist values and education continue to drive him, especially the commitments to building community around a common good and educating in the family spirit. “I’m very thankful for all the relationships we’ve developed over the years and, most importantly, I am so glad my family is heavily involved every step of the way,” Bovaird said.
Meanwhile, the recipient of the 2021 Marianist Award—which honors a member of Chaminade’s support staff—was Office of Student Activities and Leadership activities coordinator Pisila Tukia, who was praised for her deep well of care for students and all she does to help them develop.
One nominator said he marvels at Tukia’s ability to “connect with students on a deeper level and provide such strong support for their own development and wellbeing.” Tukia was also described as a collaborator and a tireless advocate, never shying away from long days to help students.
“Tukia has gone above and beyond, especially during this time of COVID-19,” a nominator said.
Tukia said she was humbled at learning she had been selected for the award. “It feels so good to know the work I do has a positive impact in our Chaminade community,” she said. “The Marianist values are very similar to my upbringing and the reason why Chaminade is my second family away from home.”
She said her Catholic upbringing and Tongan heritage underscored the importance of showing respect, humility, and loyalty to others and maintaining good relationships. Similarly, she said, Chaminade’s mission reminds her of the “awesome responsibility” she has as a lifelong educator.
“My position as a professional and community is that of a higher calling,” Tukia wrote recently, in accepting her award. “My hope is that the young adults and youth I continue to work with are inspired and reminded to give back to the next generation as leaders.”
Finally, the recipient of the 2021 Founders Award is Biology student Andrew Ancheta II.
In addition to his studies, Ancheta contributes to the University with a leadership role with the Chaminade Student Government Association, serving as an important voice and advocate for his fellow students. In fact, he has collaborated extensively with the Center for Teaching & Learning during the pandemic to communicate student questions and concerns and ensure student success.
One nominator called him the “exemplification of who a Chaminade student is.”
Another said that Ancheta is the “epitome of a servant leader and works to make the lives of others better, even when it may unnoticed. His commitment to others is unparalleled and I have been amazed by his willingness to help those in need.” In fact, one nominator recalled seeing Ancheta offering food to a man who was sifting through a trash bin at Kapiolani Park and then holding a conversation with him.
“He reached out to this man in need and provided a sense of comfort and human connection,” he said.
Ancheta said being honored with the award is a “reminder of the life God is calling me to live.”
“I am choosing to dedicate my life, my career and my purpose to creating an impact in the lives of others,” Ancheta said. “Receiving this award assures me that the work towards the fulfillment of this lifelong purpose is possible and that the journey has just begun.” He added that living Marianist values at Chaminade have informed his perspective and how he now acts—and reacts. “They have been critical in my maturation as a student, as a man, as a Catholic, and a as a human on this Earth,” he said.
The three honorees were recognized at Founders’ Day Mass in early April.