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Mele Kalikimaka & Hauoli Makahiki Hou 2003


December, 2002

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you. Our December 2002 BYU-Hawaii Alumni Newsletter includes the following:

 

President Monson urges graduates to be all they can be

Thomas S. Monson, a member of The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, quoted heavily from several of his favorite Christmas stories and called upon an old U.S. Army slogan to encourage one of BYU-Hawaii's largest December graduating classes during the December 13, 2002, commencement ceremonies.

Before sharing his love for the changes that came upon Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dicken's The Christmas Carol and John Weightman in Henry Van Dyke's The Mansion, President Monson had the audience which filled the Cannon Activity Center chuckling over one of his first experiences as a member of The Quorum of the Twelve:

 
President Thomas S. Monson
Graduation photos by Monique Saenz

He recalled at his very first meeting as a member of The Quorum of the Twelve, President David O. McKay asked him during lunch, "'Brother Monson, do you think William Shakespeare really wrote the sonnets attributed to him?' I responded that I did. He quickly countered, 'Brother Monson, do you read Shakespeare?' I felt a bit uneasy, for I was a business major.  Nonetheless I answered, Occasionally."

"President McKay continued, 'What is your favorite play?' Again I had to respond, and said, Henry the VIII. I thought this would terminate our Shakespearean discussion. I was in error," President Monson continued.  "He asked, 'Which passage?' I probed deep in memory's corridors and said, I like the lesson taught by Cardinal Wolsey when, stripped of his power, he lamented, 'Had I but served my God with half the zeal with which I served my king, he would not in mine age have left me naked to mine enemies.' President McKay then answered with a smile, 'I love that passage, too.' The subject of conversation shifted. I was profoundly relieved."

President Monson went on to congratulate the graduates on the "important milestone" they had reached, and urged them to continue "making great strides" by adopting the U.S. Army slogan used several years ago: "Be all that you can be!"

President Monson suggested as they pursue new careers and directions, the graduates follow "four helpful guideposts: First, glance backward; second, look heavenward; third, reach outward; and fourth, press onward."

 

Expanding on "glancing backward," President Monson cited Pulitzer Prize winning author John Toland who in summing up his monumental work, The Rising Sun, declared, "I have done my utmost to let the events speak for themselves; and if any conclusion was reached, it was that there are no simple lessons in history, that it is human nature that repeats itself — not history."

"I have suggested merely a glance at the past, for it is not practical to think we can return," President Monson said, adding that "some things do endure: Reason remains a constant force; civilization is cumulative, not rebuilt overnight; work and merit deserve rewards; progress relies on honesty and virtue."

President Monson said looking heavenward "is much more inspiring. We have not been left to wander in darkness and in silence uninstructed, uninspired, without revelation."

He told the graduates of once assisting President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., a former member of The First Presidency, who "asked if I could have printed a picture suitable for framing. The picture featured the Lions of Persepolis guarding the ruins of a crumbled glory. Between the decaying arches of a civilization that was no more, President Clark printed several of his favorite scriptures," including:

"Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" [Ecclesiastes 12:13]; and "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" [John 17:3].

The LDS leader also cited President David O. McKay, who founded BYU-Hawaii in 1955: "The greatest battle of life is fought within the silent chambers of your own soul. It is a good thing to sit down and commune with yourself; to come to an understanding with yourself and decide in that silent moment what your duty is to your family, to your church, to your country, and to your fellowmen."

 

"As we look heavenward, we inevitably learn of our responsibility to reach outward," President Monson continued, sharing a favorite description of success from Bessie Anderson Stanley, who wrote in 1904: "He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; has filled his niche and accomplished his task; has left the world better than he found it; has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration."

"We do not live alone — in our city, our nation, or our world. There is no dividing line between our prosperity and our neighbor's wretchedness. 'Love thy neighbor' is more than a divine truth," President Monson said. "It is a pattern for perfection. This truth inspires the familiar charge, 'Go forth to serve.'"

Referring to pressing onward, President Monson reminded the graduates "that life is like a candid camera; it does not wait for you to pose. Learning how to direct our resources wisely is a high priority. We don't have to keep up with the change. We have to keep ahead of it."

"Press onward we must, for we understand full well that attacking is not solving. Complaining is not thinking. Ridiculing is not reasoning. Accountability is not for the intention but for the deed. No man is proud simply of what he intends to do. Let us not be deceived," President Monson said.

The graduation luau

Two days before commencement, on Thursday, December 12th, 700 family, faculty, friends and seniors took their seats in the CAC for the traditional BYU-Hawaii Alumni Association graduation luau.

The University's Shaka Steel band, under the direction of Darren Duerden, provided exceptional lively Christmas music; and the Polynesian Cultural Center promo team, led by Alumni board member Ellen Gay Kekuaokalani Dela Rosa ('75, Physical Education) provided the right kind of entertainment for the Hawaiian feast.

Student speaker Ariunchimeg Tserenjavin ('02, Accounting) from Mongolia encouraged her classmates to return to their home countries: "I know and you know that it is easier to stay somehow and live where the convenience and standard of living is better than where you are from; but I know and you know also that we can accomplish a much greater purpose if we go back to our countries like Mongolia, China, Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and all other countries we represent. That is what the Prophet [David O. McKay] saw in his vision, and that is what we are to fulfill."

The second student speaker, Philip Skeen ('02, ICS: Communications), also paid tribute to the prophetic legacy of BYU-Hawaii: "We know the ground upon which we stand is sacred. We have felt this since the day we arrived," he said, comparing his "four beautiful years" at the University with a "dream and a mission."

"Our success will be in the lives we live and the people we meet," Skeen continued. "May the prophecy of David O. McKay live in our hearts always, may it permeate outward. May we remember we are the prophecy in action. May we be what he would have us become."

 
Esther Macy

Introducing the main alumni guest speaker, Pat Macy ('78, Physical Education) said his wife, Esther Dela Rosa Macy ('69) from Laie had been a member of the first Showcase Hawaiiperforming group and later served as its director after graduating from Provo in 1974. While at the Y, she performed in Europe, Canada and the U.S. as a member of BYU's A'Cappella Choir, Lamanite Generation and other groups. In 1993 she completed a BSN in nursing from the U. of New Mexico, and also served in the military before returning to Laie with her family. "She liked that role as an officer, and she continues on as the general of our home," Pat said. He explained that her current role as director of the Koolauloa Children's Choir is "a gift to the community."

 "Growing up in Laie has been such a tremendous blessing to me. BYU-Hawaii has been part of my past, my present and my future," Esther Macy told the audience, recalling how her father helped build the PCC and "encouraged me to get an education," while her mother worked hard at PCC "and with her hard-earned money, she put me through school."

"Whoever thought this half-Samoan half-Filipino girl would travel throughout the world as an ambassador of peace? With what little has been given, much has been put to use," she said, recalling how her mission and performances have taken her from dirt-floored homes in Argentina, to the great cathedrals of Europe and throughout Asia.

"Your performance in this life is like none other, for your director is none other than Jesus Christ," Macy told the graduates, encouraging them to "follow his stage directions."

 
The Koolauloa Children's choir: 'a gift to the community'
Luau photos by Elder Warren Bybee

Her choir — drawn from throughout the community and dressed in various ethnic costumes representing the BYUH world — then performed two numbers "especially selected for the graduates this year": Make a difference, be the one to lead the way;You can change the difference with what you do and say; and We are the Children of Peace.Sunday Kekuaokalani Mariteragi's ('70, Physical Education) keiki hula halau accompanied the second number.

President Shumway responds:

"I'm grateful that the theme of gratitude has been emphasized tonight. That is the fundamental emotion of all of us at times like this," BYU-Hawaii President Eric Shumway responded. He also recognized the "hundreds and thousands who have gone before us, who have found their mates, raised families...so that other children might come here and enjoy the experience."

In strongly encouraging the graduates and alumni to continue supporting BYU-Hawaii through their contributions, President Shumway shared the story of Andy and Marian Watts, generous donors from Arizona whose gift to the University has grown into an endowment now worth over $2 million. He explained their generosity "blessed over 117 students with scholarships last year from this gift made in 1980."

President Shumway recounted how he called the Watts about six months ago to thank them again for their generosity. His call found Brother Watts at home, but his wife now suffers from Alzheimer's and is in a care facility.

"I am so grateful that the Lord trusted me enough to tell me in my heart that I should give to those in need," Brother Watts told President Shumway. "I came home one day and told my wife, 'You know, Marian, we have more than just sufficient for our needs. I'd like to give one-half of our total assets to the Church, with the major portion going to BYU-Hawaii.'"

"That act of obedience has brought more happiness to me than anything else I can think of. What's more, I believe, it has brought to me more prosperity. I have discovered the more you give to the Lord, the more He blesses you to be prosperous."

 
President Shumway

"I believe that when the Lord blesses you with prosperity He expects you to be searching for ways to be generous with His money," Brother Watts continued. "That money I gave to BYU-Hawaii is the Lord's money. It's his program. It's his school and these are His children."

"You are blessed by men and women with this kind of generosity. You've probably never met Andy Watts, and you probably never will," President Shumway told the graduates, adding that Brother Watts also apologized that his latest gift to BYU-Hawaii "was a few percentage points less than he gave to BYU-Idaho."

"What's the point?" President Shumway asked. "You and I, and all of us here, are blessed because someone made a sacrifice. We are blessed because somebody gave. They gave more and more, and many times they gave not being able to see exactly where that sacrifice would lead."

President Shumway encouraged the graduates to cultivate their gratitude: "Your blessing in being here is the result of the sacrifice...and energy of those who came before," he said, citing the labor missionaries who built the campus and Polynesian Cultural Center, "those initial faculty who were recruited hastily so the opening would not be delayed";and  "the grandfathers and grandmothers who moved here so their offspring could have the benefits of education."

President Shumway also expressed appreciation "for the PCC and its close support to the point where we have become one institution."

"I hope when we extend this beyond ourselves, that we will live lives of sacrifice," President Shumway continued. "You have been invested in by members of the Church who have paid tithing. It is the spiritual and the divine aspect of this campus that sets us apart from other institutions."

 

News-bytes

Lady Seasiders win another NCAA II national volleyball title

The BYU-Hawaii women's volleyball team won their second NCAA II National Championship on Dec. 7th in Canyon, Texas, by thrashing Truman State of Kirksville, Missouri, 30-21, 30-24, 30-21.

They previously won the NCAA II national title in 1999, and prior to that won eight national championships while competing in the NAIA.

Freshman All-American Chun Yi Lin from Taiwan and junior Ashley Moea'i — daughter of alumni Tui Moea'i Jr. ('72, Elementary Education) and Ann Marie Cooper Moea'i ('70, Elementary Education) of Laie — pummeled the Bulldogs into submission from the middle blocker positions, knocking down 38 kills between the two of them, just one less than the entire Truman team. Lin nailed 23 kills while hitting .611 as the Seasiders controlled the middle of the court completely. Moea'i blasted 15 kills for a .357 average.

The BYU-Hawaii national champs will be featured during the second section of the first half-hour of CBS Sports Presents Championships of the NCAA nationwide broadcast on December 28th at 1 p.m. EST (8 a.m. HST in Hawaii on KGMB Channel 9).

Read more about the Seasiders' victory.

BYU-TV includes BYU-Hawaii broadcasts:
Where it's available, BYU-TV has recently begun broadcasting an hour of BYU-Hawaii programming every Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m. MST (currently 2:00 p.m. HST).

Top-Ten Question:
In what national category does BYU-Hawaii outrank Harvard, Princeton, Columbia and Stanford?

Answer: The U.S. News "America's Best Colleges 2003" survey of universities with the "lowest acceptance rates" places BYU-Hawaii fourth with a 10 percent admission rate, behind Curtis Institute of Music in Pennsylvania, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and Julliard School; and followed by the other universities as well as the U.S. Naval Academy and Cooper Union in New York.

The U.S. News website said the universities surveyed are among "the nation's most competitive in terms of admission."

Want to go out on a date?
Here are several to include in your calendars, FYI:

  • Homecoming: February 12-16, 2003.
  • Annual Alumni Chapter Chair conference: February 12-14, 2003. All Alumni chapter chairs are encouraged to attend, or to send a representative from their chapter. Contact Rowena Reid for further details.
  • PCC's 40th anniversary: Throughout 2003, but the actual date is October 12, 2003.

 

Chapter News

Hilo Chapter:
Chair couple Reef ('89) and Germaine Manuia Tauati ('89) told us recently they're reorganizing the Hilo chapter and planning new activities. Reef works for a home building supplier in Hilo and develops beautiful homes on the side. Germaine oversees furnishing them.

Kona Chapter:
Chairman Jimmy Dumaguin ('68, Physical Education) has been recuperating from health problems, but recently indicated he and his wife, Lorraine "Larae" Elkington Dumaguin, are ready to get the Kona alumni organized and working toward BYU-Hawaii's golden jubilee in 2005. Jimmy said he plans to retire soon from the Department of Education. The Kona Chapter follows the Kona Stake boundaries, FYI.

Samoa Chapter:
Chairs Daniel ('82, Social Management) and Gwen Ho Ching Meredith ('83, Office Management) came to Laie for the December 2002 BYU-Hawaii graduation of their daughter, Lormona.

Utah Chapter:
Co-chair Sue Settle ('92) wrote that since her Maori performing group is going to appear in Phoenix, AZ, in March 2003, she contacted Arizona chair Kepi Foliaki ('95, Accounting & IS) and is planning a potluck performance with them as well. Details to come.

Help wanted:
We are looking for new chapter leaders in Idaho (the Boise and Twin Falls areas); Hamilton, New Zealand; and St. George, Utah. If you would like to be considered, please contact Rowena Reid.

 

Personal Updates

1950s & 60s

Dixie Dorius Bond Evans ('60) wrote that she enjoys receiving our e-newsletters, "but I never hear anything from people who graduated way back in 1960.  I was the co-editor of the newspaper that year. Any news from people from that era?"

1970s

Former PCC dancer Oliva ('68) and Tulua Toia Toloa ('70, Physical Education) now live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He retired from the Army in 1995 after 22 years, and she works for the Air Force Fitness Center at nearby Peterson AFB.

Roy Harker ('72) and his wife recently visited campus from Magrath, Alberta, Canada, to see their son, Nephi, graduate in art. Harker, who served his mission in Samoa, went on to graduate from the Y, and then taught for several years at Church College of Western Samoa. He now teaches computer classes in his hometown.

Nan Ellen Simmons Ah You ('71, Home Economics) is the administrative assistant and business manager for the Physics & Astronomy Department at BYU. She and her husband,Pometi Ah You ('75, Industrial Education) live in nearby Orem.

1980s

"The three years I spent in Hawaii were some of the most memorable times of my life," writes Leah Coulbeck Nielsen ('89, Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Management), who now lives in Lewiston, Utah. "I learned so much about myself by learning about other cultures and living with girls from all over the world. Without those experiences, my outlook on life would be much different."

1990s

Tou'angahe'ofa Langi ('90,) and his wife, Norma Peni Tui Langi ('87, Elementary Education), now live in Portland, Oregon. "BYU-HC was an excellent place to be. I loved it and would like to some day return to Laie and raise my family there."

Kathy Kidder Meyers ('91, Math Education) now lives in Salt Lake City, where she teaches math, sports psychology and is head softball coach at Riverton High. She wrote: "I loved BYU-Hawaii, the culture and the people and I  try to live with the spirit of Aloha in Utah. My experience at BYU-Hawaii was one I will always cherish because it gave me great perspective on what's really important (the way we treat others)."

Carmen Dominguez ('91, Chemistry) now lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Hsiu-Chen Janie Chou ('93, IS) seemed surprised that it's been "nine years already! I do not mean to be at this age, but time just keeps on slipping." Since graduating, Chou has worked in the electronics industry in Taiwan, although she spent a year in Dongguan, China: "It was quite an experience in management. We had 4,300 local Chinese operators and engineers (with about 40 managers from Taiwan). Although everybody spoke the same language, the value system was completely different between the local people and the management."

Alan Chi-Keung Cheung ('95, TESOL) is a research scientist for the Success For All Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland.

Mulimauga Tuioti ('95, IS) and his wife, Jennifer Leigh Houston ('93), now live in Chilliwack, BC, Canada. "The years I attended BYU-Hawaii were the most memorable of my life," he wrote. "I have learned so much, and my testimony has grown because of the many wonderful people I met there."

Jin Yip Kong ('96, IS) is a senior systems engineer for UIC Technologies in Singapore.

Jason Ho-Ching ('98) and his wife, Melinda, now live in Mesa, AZ. He wrote: "ÉThere will always be a big part of my heart that longs to be back there, dancing at PCC and enjoying the friendship of the most wonderful people in the world. I feel sorry for anyone who is unhappy there, or who finds shortfalls with the school. They don't realize that they are in the most heaven-like place I have ever been to on this earth."

Michael Kofi Boateng ('99, Political Science) is now a researcher for the New York State Legislature in Albany. He and his wife, Bette-Jean Ah loy Boateng ('98) live in nearby Troy, NY.

2000s

"My cultural experience at BYUH has helped me deal with the world community and has helped me become successful, not only in my business but in becoming a better person and citizen of this world. I would tell everyone who walks the halls of the McKay Building to shake people's hands and build bridges for their futures. An education like that can only be found at BYU-Hawaii!" writes Charles Koakanu Lum ('01, IDS), who's the executive director of a Hawaiian consulting firm. He and his wife, Kimberly Vone Moore ('00, IDS) live in Kaneohe.

Monalito Soifua ('02, EXS Physical Education) wrote that he and his family were heading for graduate school in Louisville, Kentucky, a year ago when a coaching position opened in Georgia State's new football program. They went 5-2 their first season, but he adds "there are freezing temperatures and it's not a pretty sight." The Soifua family now lives in Marietta, GA.

Megan Castellaw (02, Hospitality & Tourism) wrote that she is very excited about her Spanish-speaking mission call in Provo, Utah. "I absolutely loved every minute of my time there at BYUH, and will take with me the many lessons I learned there. I gained a great education at BYU-Hawaii. Much more than I ever imagined and am amazed as I come to new realizations every day. I am grateful for my secular education that has given me advantages and confidence in the work place. But more importantly, I am grateful for the life lessons that I learned: That culture makes us unique, that a smile breaks any language barrier, and that God's grace and love is sufficient for all His children."

Editor's Note:
Finally, I would like to share my own mana'o at this special time of the year, and let you know again what a privilege it is to serve both as the BYU-Hawaii/CCH Alumni Association president and also as editor of our newsletter.

It has been a great pleasure hearing from so many of you, and learning of your successes and your sincere feelings for our alma mater. Betty Jean "B.J." Fuller ('71, Elementary Education) — whom some of you will remember either as a classmate or from her many years of service at BYU-Hawaii, including work for the Alumni Association — recently shared one of her mother's favorite Hawaiian proverbs in a Sacrament meeting that poetically reflects this situation:

I kahi e no ke kumu mokihana, paoa e no one i ke ala.
(Although the mokihana tree is at a distance, it's fragrance still reaches us.)

For some, it's been many years...and miles since you were last in Laie, but we still enjoy hearing of your accomplishments and love for BYU-Hawaii. As we draw closer to the University's golden jubilee, we need your strength in our alumni association more than ever. Stay with us, it's going to get even better. Welina nui ke aloha,

—   Mike Foley ('70, TESL)