To recognize their exceptional contributions in personifying the Marianist values, Dr. Darren Iwamoto, Maritel Suniga and Kobe Ngirailemesang ’23 have been honored with this year’s Heritage Awards. It’s a distinction that Brother Ed Brink says “shows the breadth and impact an individual may have on campus and in the community.”
A testament to that mission is Dr. Darren Iwamoto, Associate Professor in Education and Behavioral Sciences, who received this year’s Chaminade Award, given to a faculty or staff member who has exhibited a continuous commitment to Marianist values in education.
“Yes, these awards are designed to honor individuals,” says Brink, Vice President of Mission and Rector, addressing the Founders’ Day Mass attendees. “But these awards are also meant to remind all of us the mission of the university and the importance of trying to live out that mission on a daily basis.”
“I truly try to live the Marianist Education Core Values and receiving this award is special because it tells me that I’m on the right path,” Iwamoto says. “This award motivates me to continue serving our students in Family Spirit and I’m blessed to be a part of an organization that truly lives its mission and values.”
Sharing the same sentiment is Kobe Ngirailemesang ’23, a graduating senior, who was presented with the Founders’ Award, which recognizes a student who has exhibited a commitment to Marianist values by outstanding generosity, respect for others and spirit of faith.
“Personally, this award is about being of service to others whenever it is possible,” Ngirailemesang says. “I never thought of helping others as an obligation. I really just enjoy the company of others, regardless of it being for work/class or not. I am truly honored to have received this award.”
Meanwhile, Payroll Specialist in the Business Office, Maritel Suniga was honored with the Marianist Award, conferred to a staff member who has exhibited a continuous and extraordinary commitment to the vision and mission of Chaminade University while drawing others into the collaborative community.
The three honorees were recognized at a special ceremony on Jan. 18, following the Founders’ Day Mass at Mystical Rose Oratory. The event was the culmination of a series of gatherings meant to celebrate not only the founders of the Marianist family—including the university’s namesake—but the characteristics of a Marianist education and the values and mission that are central to Chaminade’s identity.
“We gather today to be inspired,” says Brink, during the award ceremony portion of the Mass, “and to hopefully recommit ourselves to be the best member of this community that we can be.”