BYU-Hawaii eNewsletter, January-April 2009


The January-April 2009 BYU–Hawaii Alumni eNewsletter includes:

  • BYU–Hawaii men's basketball team has best season ever
  • News Bytes
    • The Church commissions Envision Laie study
    • Annual business conference, business plan competition focuses on champions
    • 'Uncle Bill' passes
    • BYU-TV now showing in Hawaii
    • IWORK to absorb, enhance and expand IWES program
    • Switch to new academic calendar goes smoothly
    • Hubner to head new Business AS degree program
    • PCC reorganizes upper management
    • New IIPP program helps BYUH grads
    • Temple lights out for now
    • Wesley heads reorganized Pacific Institute
    • New presidency for BYU–Hawaii 1st Stake
    • New Director of Communications and Marketing
    • Former faculty report on China teaching experience
  • Association, Alumni & Chapter News
    • CCHers hold reunion in Las Vegas, St. George
    • Alumni deliver devotionals, presentations on campus (Hippolite Wright, Taeoalii, Purcell, Bridges, Manoa)
    • Wheelwrights meet with alumni in Asia
    • Checketts meets alumni in New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga
    • We hear from the Honolulu and Korea chapters
  • Personal Updates
    • Updates on alumni
    • Memorial list


BYUH men's basketball: Best season ever

BYU-Hawaii basketball fans
BYU–Hawaii fans cheer on the Seasiders
Photos by Monique Saenz ('02)

The dream season for the BYU–Hawaii men's basketball team, under head coach Ken Wagner, came to a final-seconds, heart-breaking stop in front of a packed Cannon Activities Center crowd on March 18 when the Seasiders lost the NCAA II West Regional championship, 59-58, to Cal Poly Pomona.

The number-one seeded Seasider men entered the game with a near-perfect 25-1 [wins-losses] — and 12-0 in the PacWest — record that earned them an all-time-high number-three NCAA II ranking, the Pacific West Conference championship, and the right to hold the first three regional games in Laie — much to the delight of the fans.

Earlier in the tournament, the BYUH men defeated Humboldt State University, 98-84, and Cal State-Dominguez Hills, 84-71, to advance to the regional finals.

But the Broncos also came to play...and they brought the strategy of containing the Seasider season average scoring of 92 points per game. For example, even though BYUH led at half-time, 28-23 — indeed, they led for most of the game, Cal Poly held them scoreless for over six minutes in the fourth quarter, finally taking the lead at 57-56, with 53 seconds left in the game.

Stunned BYU-Hawaii fans
The last-seconds one-point win stuns BYUH fans

A pair of free throws by 6'9" Brazilian sensation Lucas Alves, put the Seasiders back on top by one point...and 35 seconds left to play; but the Broncos fought through the BYUH defense with a put-back shot that gave them the go-ahead one-point lead, and only three seconds left on the clock.

Inbounding the ball, Marques Whippy attempted a long desperation shot, but it fell short...and the players and fans were in shock. Perhaps the Seasiders' finest season ever was suddenly over.

Before the game

As the fans were waiting for the action to begin, BYU–Hawaii Vice President for Academics Dr. Max Checkett's, who oversees athletics, said, "Athletics is another opportunity for students to develop leadership. We're probably on the small side of most NCAA II schools, and yet we seem to attract athletes who I think are developing those traits." He added that the Seasiders' successful season also helps in recruiting new students, "not just athletes, but all students. In the society we live in, people tend to put value on institutions that excel."

Asked about the future of athletics at BYU–Hawaii, Checketts explained that he has been tasked to come up with some options, but stressed, "No decisions have been made. Too many people lock themselves into the position that you have them or you don't; but we've already identified two-or-three other options, so we're pretty pleased and we're excited about this particular basketball team."

Pacific West Conference Commissioner Bob Hogue also praised the BYU–Hawaii team for its "phenomenal season... They went undefeated and won 24 games in a row. It's been an incredible run, but it didn't come without incredible challenges from UH-Hilo, Chaminade, Dixie State and the others. They had some tough games, and we've really improved the level of play in the PacWest. Through it all, BYU–Hawaii was up to every challenge. I've seen BYU–Hawaii have some great teams over the years. If this one isn't the best one they've ever had, it's certainly very close. It's probably the deepest and fastest one they've ever had, and I would put this team up against any team at any level that this state has ever had. They're that good." Hogue was also thrilled that the regional tournament could be held in Laie.

Lucas Alves
Alves in action

All-America honors

For his outstanding efforts in leading the Seasiders to their best-ever 27-2 season record, Alves — a junior from Casa Branca, Brazil — was named the Daktronics NCAA II National Player of the Year and to the All-America First Team. His honors were bolstered by scoring over 1,500 points in three seasons at BYU–Hawaii and grabbing over 600 rebounds. This year he also averaged 19.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, blocked 40 shots, and connected on 52.7 percent from the field — including 25 three-pointers.

"This is a great achievement for Lucas and our team," Wagner said. Alves responded that it was never his goal to gain individual honors, but he "feels really good" about the awards. "This is really a team award," he continued. "If the team had not done so well, it would not have happened. I thank my teammates for this honor."

Alves was also named Daktronics NCAA II West Regional Player of the Year and to the West Region First Team, as well as the West Regional All-Academic First Team.

PacWest All-Conference Second Team honors also went to seniors Nathan Sims and Trenson Akana, junior J.R. Buensuceso and sophomore Marques Whippy. In addition, Jet Chang was named PacWest Freshman of the Year.

More sports honors

From the BYU–Hawaii women's basketball team, under head coach Wendy Anae, senior Latoya Wily was named to the Daktronics NCAA II All-America First Team. Earlier she was named to the West Region First Team.

In the process of leading the Lady Siders to a 16-11 third-place PacWest tie, Wily, who is originally from Laie, is credited with 13.9 rebounds per game — second highest in the nation, as well as third-place national honors for scoring 25.6 average points per game and shooting a successful 59.5 field goal percentage. She was also named PacWest Conference player of the week six times during the season.

"Her leadership and character were her biggest contributions to our team," said Anae. "She is always so positive and happy, and she has never been concerned about personal glory or stats." Wily responded, "I am honestly shocked. I never thought about anything like this. I just always wanted to help my team win and represent the school and my family the best way I could." She added she hopes to continue her basketball career after graduation.

Teammates Mahina Gago, a junior from Las Vegas, and sophomore Richelle Fenenbock from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, also received PacWest All-Conference Honorable Mention honors. For more on BYU–Hawaii sports...


News Bytes

Church commissions 'Envision Laie' study

Starting last year The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints commissioned a team of experts and consultants to conduct the three-phase Envision Laie study as part of a 50-year sustainability assessment of BYU–Hawaii, the Polynesian Cultural Center, Hawaii Reserves, Inc. (HRI) and to a lesser extent the Laie Hawaii Temple.

Envision Hawaii flyer

Speaking during a series of BYUH faculty, staff, and community resident meetings in mid-April, HRI President & CEO R. Eric Beaver, J.D. ('87, Business Management), said, "The first phase is already complete. That was an internal review, working very closely with the management team of each entity. Phase II, which we are in the middle of, is a look at sustainability scenarios for the institutions and their impact in the community, including a community involvement process; and the third phase will be to submit an actual request to the City and County to incorporate some changes into their plan [for Koolau Loa] that would help facilitate our sustainability."

Beaver pointed out that preliminary results show "a lack of jobs, economic diversity and affordable housing is causing slow deterioration in this area," that Koolau Loa is not a viable place to raise families in the long-run without appropriate planned growth, and that BYU–Hawaii and the PCC "are not sustainable in their current form and structures, and cannot continue as they are." He added that sustainable solutions should include designating land for affordable housing, future BYUH and expansion, and economic diversity to create more jobs.

BYU–Hawaii President Steven C. Wheelwright explained that the annual costs of the university have approximately doubled over the past 14 years, with about 72 percent of that funding coming from the Church, and that to achieve sustainable economies of scale the school must grow enrollment to at least 4,000 students over the next 10 years.

Such growth, he continued would require replacing all of the current single-student dorms, adding more of them, and expanding married student housing. "Our goal is to have about 80 percent of our single students and about 90 percent of our married students living on campus," he said. "We think that's the right balance, given the size of the community and what they can support. We also need to provide faculty and staff with affordable housing options."

PCC President & CEO Von D. Orgill explained that so far the Center has met recent economic challenges, declining tourism markets and previously deferred maintenance by reducing its break-even point approximately 25 percent over the past five years and a more recent, "very painful"one-third reduction in fulltime staff.

"We're never going to go away from the cultural things we've been doing so well and for so long," he stressed, but said that part of the solution may be found in marketing "wholesome family entertainment" such as the Haunted Lagoon canoe ride last October. "If we're going to be doing additional things, we might well need additional land to expand our offerings. We don't want the development plan to constrain our abilities to do that."

A good point, since as Beaver pointed out, "BYU–Hawaii and the Polynesian Cultural Center are the two main economic catalysts in this area, and it's important that they remain viable." Other partial solutions might include a proposed hotel, town center, a business park/light industrial area, and moving proposed housing to a new site in nearby Malaekahana.

Two Envision Laie community workshops will be held in the Cannon Activities Center on April 28 and 29, from 6-9 p.m., and an open house on April 30 in the CAC from 6-7:30 to review the next steps in the process. The City and County will also hold its Koolau Loa Sustainability Plan meeting in May. For more information...

Annual business conference, business plan competition focuses on champions:
With a knights of the round table Conference of Champions theme, the annual three-day BYU–Hawaii Willes Center for International Entrepreneurship (CIE) business conference and business plan competition from March 4-6 included keynote addresses and workshops by visiting entrepreneurs, and $50,000 in donated prizes for the student "champions." Keynote speakers included:

  • Dan McCormick — "an enormously successful Nu Skin™ distributor, motivational speaker and author — who said "the economy can be a tremendous friend to you, even today."
  • Ryan Ockey, a Canadian real estate developer and member of the BYU–Hawaii/PCC Presidents Leadership Council, who said the most important thing we can do is bet on good people.
  • BYU–Hawaii President Steven C. Wheelwright told the students he looks for great changes in their lives as the university strives to increase their power "to improve families, communities and the world."
  • Carlos Martins, a Brazilian who started out as a "poor BYU student" but more recently used the world's largest private system of language schools that he owns to distribute approximately 500,000 Church "pass-along" cards to his students and generate about 1,000 phone calls a month by offering a free Book of Mormon prize on his company web site.

The $15,000 grand prize for this year's winning business plan went to senior Brett Lee for his proposal to start up a moped rental stand at Turtle Bay Resort. Additional prizes went to plans calling for a mobile food delivery service in New Delhi, India; adding global positioning system (GPS)-activated information to an existing digital audio tour; expanding a fishing lodge in northeastern Minnesota to include more family activities; and a reverse osmosis water purification and bottling business in the Philippines.

For more information on the business conference...
For more on the business plan competition...

Uncle Bill Wallace

'Uncle Bill' passes away:
William Kauaiwiulaokalani Wallace III, J.D. (’72, History), Director of the BYUH Jonathan Napela Center for Hawaiian Language and Cultural Studies, passed away March 2 at Castle Hospital. “Uncle Bill,” as everyone called him, was born and raised on the island of Molokai, but also had strong family ties to Laie. After graduating from CCH, Wallace worked as an educator on Molokai and an officer of the Polynesian Cultural Center before pursuing a law degree at Brigham Young University.

After passing the bar, Wallace — who is also part-Samoan and Tongan — served as Assistant Attorney General in American Samoa for a number of years before returning to Laie and eventually joining the BYUH history faculty. He was named director of the Hawaiian Studies program when it was first formed, and since 2001 has been closely associated as a force and captain of its iconic sailing canoe, Iosepa. He also served as a Hawaii State Family Court per diem judge..

The Wallace family, most of whom are BYU–Hawaii alumni, personally wishes to express their love and thanks to everyone for their prayers, support, and aloha during this past year of Uncle Bill's illness. His last message to everyone, which was dictated to his wife, Amanda Bowkett Wallace ('88, TESOL), several hours before his passing, was: "Aloha to everyone. I love all of you very much. God bless all of you. You are all wonderful people, and I will always remember all of you."

Uncle Bill's funeral was held on March 14 at the Laie Stake Center. He was buried at the Laie Cemetery next to his first wife, Nihipora Kereama “Aunty Niki” Wallace (’07). For more on Uncle Bill's passing...

BYU TV now showing in Hawaii:
With assistance from BYU–Hawaii representatives, Oceanic Time Warner Cable recently started broadcasting BYU TV programming 24 hours a day on Channel 409. The programming carries content produced at BYU–Hawaii and includes devotionals and forums, CES and Church firesides, General Conference broadcasts, BYU Education Week and Women's Conferences, BYU sporting events and musical performances, Music and the Spoken Word, Center Street and Family Times, BYU documentaries, and BYU and CES faculty discussions and symposia.

BYU TV is currently available to more than 40 million cable and direct-to-home satellite subscribers in 15 American states. Through BYU Television International, it is also available to viewers across the world via direct satellite, broadcast services, cable carriers and Internet streaming.

IWORK program to absorb, enhance and expand IWES:
By the beginning of First Term in July, the university's new International Work Opportunity Return-ability Kuleana (IWORK) will have absorbed the International Work Experience Scholarship (IWES) program, making several significant enhancements in the process:

  • All current international students at BYU–Hawaii, and all new international applicants, can apply for IWORK — not just those from the university's official target areas (Asia and the Pacific).
  • IWORK will cover housing and insurance for married participants.
  • Fifty-percent of an individual participant's IWORK funds will be a grant, and 50 percent a forgivable loan. Under IWORK, 25 percent of the loan portion will be forgiven for each of the first four years a participants stays in his or her target region. If a participants does not return, the loan portion must be repaid similar to loan programs domestic U.S. students have.

For more information...

Switch to new academic calendar, other changes go smoothly:
BYU–Hawaii's first semester under the new academic calendar, which features two 14-week semesters with longer classes and three mid-year terms, and other 2009 changes on campus have gone smoothly. Read all about them...

Hubner to head new Business associate degree program:
BYU–Hawaii Vice President for Academics Dr. Max L. Checketts recently announced that Dr. Clayton Hubner, Dean of the College of College of Business Computing and Government, has been named to develop the new two-year associate of science degree program in business that was previously approved by the Church Educational System Board of Trustees.


"Because of this change in Dr. Hubner's assignment, a new dean of the college will be appointed in the coming weeks," said Checketts. "Clayton's contributions as Dean have been impressive and significant, and we appreciate his dedication to that assignment. We look forward to the swift development of the two-year business degree program under his leadership."

PCC reorganizes upper management:
As part of its approach to meeting some of the challenges currently facing the Hawaii tourism industry, the Polynesian Cultural Center board of directors recently appointed P. Alfred Grace ('88, Travel Management) as the PCC's first-ever Chief Operating Officer (COO). Grace, a Maori originally from New Zealand, is responsible for day-to-day operations of the Center and reports to PCC President & CEO Von D. Orgill. The board has been tasked him to spend more time "leading the exploration of future possibilities for the Center."

Because Grace was previously Senior Vice President of Marketing & Sales, his promotion resulted in several other management changes in that area, including:

  • Raymond Magalei ('96, International Business Management) has been given expanded responsibilities as Director of Marketing.
  • J. Alan Walker ('91, Business Management) serves as Director of Sales.
  • Francis Ho Ching ('87, Business Management) serves as Senior Manager of Sales.

For more information...

New IIPP program helps BYUH grads:
To help better BYU–Hawaii graduates stand out more in job interviews and the work place as they develop their careers, Barbara Barrington Jones and the Hal and Barbara Jones Foundation have created the new International Institute of Professional Protocol (IIPP) program.

Jones introduced the IIPP program, which contains a set of four core classes — including topics such as dressing for success, organization skills, professional interview skills, an optional career-appropriate makeup class, and an etiquette banquet on campus in March. For more information...

Laie Temple under renovation
The Laie Hawaii Temple...stripped of paint

Temple lights out for now:
It seems so strange to see the Laie Hawaii Temple stripped of its gleaming white paint, with building barricades top and bottom, and even stranger at night — because the lights are out. The good news is that the work is progressing, and hopefully in another 14-15 months the temple will be ready to be rededicated.

Meanwhile, some faithful temple patrons — including BYU–Hawaii students — have been going to the Kona Hawaii Temple or other locations. Also, it's anticipated that the Church will hold an "open house" before the Laie Temple reopens. Over 100,000 people toured the Laie Temple when that happened in 1977. Read more...

Dr. Hiagi Wesley

Wesley heads reorganized Pacific Institute:
BYU–Hawaii recently named Education professor Dr. Hiagi M. Wesley ('70) as Director of the newly renamed and reorganized Jonathan Napela Center for Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Studies, which consolidates Hawaiian Studies, the Pacific Institute, Pacific Island Studies and the Pacific island languages — Tongan, Samoan, Maori (and Hawaiian, which is part of Hawaiian Studies). Wesley will also continue to retain some of his Education Department responsibilities. Read more...

New presidency for BYU–Hawaii 1st Stake:
Arthur "Art" Hannemann ('82, Social Work) recently succeeded Keith Pierce ('86) as president of the BYU–Hawaii 1st Stake, with P. Alfred Grace ('88, Travel Management) serving as First Counselor and Glade Tew as Second Counselor. President Hannemann, who lives at Turtle Bay Condos, is the chief services officer at Pacific Potential, LLC; President Grace was recently named the first-ever Chief Operating Officer of the Polynesian Cultural Center; and President Tew is a BYU–Hawaii accounting professor.

New Director of Communications and Marketing:
Michael A. Johanson has succeeded Dr. Duane C. Roberts as the BYU–Hawaii Director of Communications and Marketing. Johanson, who earned a degree in public relations from BYU Provo, previously worked for Melaleuca Inc. in Idaho Falls, Idaho, as communications manager. Roberts retired at the end of Fall Semester 2008, and he and his wife, Susan Roberts, who assisted with ELI students, now live in Utah. For more information...

Former faculty report on China teaching experience:
Former adjunct faculty members Dr. Robin Henderson and his wife, Nancy Henderson recently visited campus and reported on their experiences serving as volunteer English Teachers through the BYU David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies China Teachers Program at Qintao University in Qingtao, China. When they lived in Laie, Dr. Henderson taught biology and Sister Henderson individual family management courses. The couple now lives in St. George, Utah. Read more...


Association, Alumni & Chapter News

CCHers hold reunion in Las Vegas, St. George

Some of them may be a little slower and grayer, but Church College of Hawaii alumni who attended the university between its founding in 1955 and 1974, when the name changed to Brigham Young University–Hawaii, are still setting the example for their younger counterparts with an aggressive schedule of reunions that are filled with fun and aloha spirit. Some live in the region, others came from all over the U.S. mainland, and a few came from Hawaii for their latest reunion — with the theme Na Pionia I Loko Ka Neon Slippahs I Ka Panoa (The Pioneers in Neon Slippers in the Desert). It took place from April 6-8, 2009 at three locations: Las Vegas and Warm Springs, Nevada; and Tuacahn in St. George, Utah.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Under clear skies with beautiful dry weather in the comfortable sixties, the Las Vegas portion of the CCH reunion started with a putting contest at the Angel Park Golf Course, then convened at the Old Mormon Fort to talk story, listen to a motivational talk and, of course, grind on a basic Hawaii plate-lunch-style meal, including two scoops rice, mac salad, mahimahi, kalua pig and cabbage.

Church College of Hawaii alumni organizing committee
CCHers reunion committee members (left-right, front row): Sandy ('62) and Jerry Hekekia ('63), and Viliami Hemaloto ('65, Math/Science Teaching); (l-r, back row): Vance ('59) and Donna Aschenbrenner Cannon ('59), Lokelani Donner Lindsey ('65, Physical Education), Kathy Boyce Hemingway ('59), and Kay Aina Makaiwi ('59) and Aaron Makaiwi. Missing: David Tausinga, Wayne Reis ('72, Sociology), and Earl ('60) and Audrey Davenport Veloria ('66, Elementary Education). — Photos by Mike Foley ('70)

Organizing committee members had made arrangements to use the first permanent structure in Las Vegas, which was established under Brigham Young's direction in 1855, for the after-hours gathering. Some of those at the Old Mormon Fort portion of the reunion included:

  • Ron Enos ('69), who went on to graduate from BYU with a master's degree in 1974, was hired as a Navajo-speaking Seminary teacher while still in school. After teaching in the Seminary and Institute system for 34 years — 22 of them in Arizona, he retired five years ago. He and his wife, Linda Tanner Enos ('69), now live in St. George, where he is helping with the first local Makahiki celebration on May 1 at Desert Hills High School.
  • Leima Muti Tapua ('73) recalls working in the Registrar's Office with the late Eugene Crismon and later with the late Larry Oler and Warren Ottley.
  • Though not a CCH student, Noelani Kauhane Tahu — who was married to the late Hector Tahu — worked with many of the early Seasiders as Aunty Sally Wood (Naluai)'s alaka'i or assistant hula instructor at the Polynesian Cultural Center ('63). After Hector taught at Church College of New Zealand for five years, the family moved to the Southwest U.S. where he was involved in Native American education for another 27 years (he passed away in 2007), Noe now lives in St. George and is also associated with the upcoming Makahiki celebration there.
  • Tekehu Munanui ('69, Mathematics Education) and his wife, Henriette Yim Munanui ('62), now live in Salt Lake City, Utah. Though originally from Hao in the Tuamotus, he recalled coming to CCH in 1963 after graduating from Liahona High School in Tonga. He also shared how right after graduating from CCH he began his 33-year career working fulltime for the Church Translation Department. In fact, he still helps translate General Conference sessions and is working on revising the Tahitian Scriptures. In '96 he returned to French Polynesia as mission president, and in 2002 he and his wife were called as president and matron of the Papeete Tahiti Temple. "CCH did a lot for me and all of the Tahitian students, especially in growing their testimonies of the gospel. Many of them, up to the present time, have gone on missions from Hawaii," he said. "As a boy in Tahiti, I never dreamed my life would be like this."
Hyrum Smith

Hyrum Smith: The abundance mentality

Franklin Planner founder Hyrum Wayne Smith, great-grandson of Joseph F. "Iosepa" Smith and whose mother Ruth Smith taught in the CCH English Department, first cracked up the alumni with his stories of growing up in Honolulu in the early 1950s and basically learning pidgin as his first language, even to the point that when he went to school on the mainland people used to ask what language he was speaking. He shared his views on one of his favorite topics.

"There are two basic philosophies alive and well on the planet today: One is the scarcity mentality. The antithesis of that is the abundance mentality," he said. "The scarcity mentality says, there's not enough on the planet, therefore I'd better grab what I can and hold onto it. The abundance mentality suggests there is plenty on the planet for everyone; therefore, I can share what I have."

Noting that the former is the predominant mentality, Smith recalled a "massive ah-hah — the highest form of a BUFO: a blinding flash of the obvious," he had: "The minute you are able to look at yourself in the mirror and honestly say I have sufficient for my needs, at that point you are wealthy. Why? You have enough. You don't need anything else. The second part of that BUFO was, if you are creative enough to create more than is sufficient for your needs, the difference between what is sufficient for your needs and what you have isn't yours: It's a stewardship you've been given to do something with that really matters." He added he began speaking all over the world on this topic.

"This is an easy talk to give — when you're broke," he continued. Then he recalled the day in 1992 when the company "my wife and I started in our basement went public on the New York Stock Exchange. I realized, clearly, I had more than was sufficient for my needs... My wife and I made a pact that morning that we would die broke."

CCH yearbook
CCHers (left-right) Tekehu Munanui ('69), Sally Ann McShane Foley ('68), Henriette Yim Munanui ('62) and Viliami Hemaloto ('65)
check out an old yearbook

"We decided what was sufficient for our needs, and we took the difference, and we started doing stuff that matters," he said. "There's a scripture in the Bible [Ecclesiastes 11:1] that says, Cast thy bread upon the waters...and it comes back to you. That is a natural law of the universe. We tested and proved that principle. All of us who grew up in Hawaii grew up with the abundance mentality. That's the Hawaiian way."

"When I discovered this, it had an amazing impact on my life, and we continue to follow it," Smith said. "Wherever you go back to, ask yourself: Do we have sufficient for our needs? If the answer is yes, and there's more, what are you going to do? Give what you are capable of giving."

Following Smith's presentation and after the eats, Cannon led some of the CCH alumni on a historical tour of Las Vegas while others took off to the Plaza Hotel to attend The Rat Pack is Back — a tribute show to Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. Show director and alum Donlee Cardejon ('70), who first worked in Waikiki shows after leaving Laie and then toured with different shows on the mainland, said, "I've been really busy. I've been in Vegas since '84, and I just flew in from Clearwater, Florida, where this show's touring." Asked if he credits any of his entertainment career to PCC days, Donlee quickly responded, "Of course. Dancing and working at the Cultural Center really added a lot to what I was trying to do: My major was choreography and my minor was theater, but I also had a passion for back-stage stuff and creating things. But it was the Cultural Center that afforded me the opportunities to expand. When I heard we were going to have a reunion here, I knew I had to fly in."

Warm Springs, Nevada

The next day the alumni moved on to this beautiful oasis in the middle of the Mojave Desert about 90 miles northeast of Las Vegas. It was once owned by Howard Hughes but is now a regional Latter-day Saint recreational camp. Clear 80-degree water from the springs flows into a modern swimming pool surrounded by picnic and camping facilities. In short, it was an ideal place for the CCHers to convene their second reunion session.

CCH alumnus Frank Pelekai

While some enjoyed the refreshing water, others played games or gathered in the shade to renew acquaintances and talk story. For example:

  • It seemed appropriate that Frank Pelekai ('61), who is originally from Hana, Maui, was helping to barbecue hot dogs. "We were called the opunuis [big stomach] over there for all the eating we did," he recalled. He also said after serving a mission in Hong Kong and active duty in the Army, he worked for Hawaiian Airlines for 31 years. After retiring in 2001, he moved to Blaine, Washington.
  • Jack Winn Jr. ('68, Physical Education), a former CCH student body president who is part-Hawaiian with lots of ohana in Laie, joined the Church while in school. He began a 39-year coaching and teaching career after graduation, first in Hawaii and eventually in Neah Bay, Washington, where he and his wife, Maureen, now live. He retired in 2007. "I loved CCH. It was the best thing that ever happened to me," he said, "and a lot of my non-member friends and family joined the Church."
  • Glenn Kukahiko ('58) had been attending BYU Provo, when he got homesick and decided to enroll at CCH. He recalled living in the temporary barracks on the corner of Lanihuli St. and Naniloa Loop, "across from Goo's Store," and how convenient everything was back then. "It was a great experience." After returning and graduating from Provo in secondary education, Kukahiko taught, went into sales, and was assistant general manager of the Polynesian Cultural Center in the late 60s and 70s. Moving to the mainland, he worked 27 years as a respiratory therapist in Utah. He retired six years ago, but still puts in several days a week. "They still want me to work," he said. He and his wife, Mary McArthur Kukahiko ('69) live in Orem, Utah. As a campus bishop in the 70s, Kukahiko remembers that the stake president encouraged him to have those ward members who wanted to serve a mission save $500, "and the stake would find the rest. It was amazing how many kids we sent on missions. Some of them have done very well since then, in becoming leaders throughout the world. That's what has impressed me."
  • Like many CCH and BYUH students, Irwin Purcell ('69), who is originally from Samoa, said the best thing that happened to him at school was, "I met my wife," Piilani "Pinky" Collins Purcell ('68, Speech and Drama), a Hawaiian from Pennsylvania. He worked fulltime for the PCC for a while after graduating, and then moved to Utah where the couple still lives in Provo. He returned for several years to teach Seminary in Samoa, and is looking forward to retiring. He is also involved with the Utah Polynesian Choir.
  • Tom Murray ('66), who came to Laie as a labor missionary from North Auckland, New Zealand, in 1960, and his wife, Norma Nemoto Murray ('86, TESOL), who is originally from Waimanalo, recently completed a senior mission in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. They live in nearby Eagle Mountain. He recalled when he got to Laie he was impressed with the basic similarities between the Hawaiians and Maori. "I was fortunate to learn the basics of Hawaiian from Clinton Kanahele, who was in the stake presidency at that time," he said. "That was a tremendous experience, and he was a great man."
CCH alumni, Warm Springs, Nevada
The dental floss relay

Following a series of fun games — such as the "hundred yard dash" relay, or without hands seeing who could gobble up a long strand of dental floss held by a partner, then the old eat-crackers-then whistle race and others, plus a series of cheers, the committee announced the winners of the decorated rubber slippers — in keeping with the reunion theme: Bobbilyn Akoi ('75, History), first; Andy Oshita ('72, Physical Education), second; and Kay Aina Makaiwi, third.

Other prizes went to Norma Murray for having the most grandkids — 28 from four children; her husband, Tom Murray, who admitted to being the oldest alum at the reunion; and then the Murrays plus Lokelani Lindsey, Lurai Dumaguin, Hutia Tekurio Kaanapu ('78) and Charlene Shelford Lum won for an impromptu version of the Maori action song, Karanga Tia Ra...although a Maori-like uku [flea] dance also garnered considerable support.

Some of the CCHers also told funny stories, which included a number of dorm raid incidents and lots of creativity in turning various dorm implements into cooking utensils. Then, as darkness descended, most of the CCHers got back on Interstate 15 and headed for...

St. George, Utah

In Utah, through the kindness of Hyrum Smith, the CCH alumni met at the Tuacahn charter high school for the arts, first taking a tour of the impressive facilities. Then, as during the two previous gatherings, the old Seasiders got together to talk story while Wayne Reis ('72, Sociology), now a car dealer living in St. George, and two Hawaiian friends played island music. Several of those there shared their stories:

  • CCH alumni in St. George, Utah
    CCH alumni in St. George (left-right): Glenna-Lee Needham Togo ('81), Penny Rasmussen Reis ('73), Rhonda Carruthers Andresen ('93, English), Noelette Cardejon Poulsen and Raynette Ini Akoi Francom ('75, Elementary Education)
    Noelette Cardejon Poulsen ('73), who is originally from Kamakani, Kauai, pointed out she has several other siblings who attended CCH: Merrell Cardejon ('72, Sociology), who retired several years ago from Church Physical Facilities, and his wife Gwen Nakaahiki Cardejon ('73), who live on Kauai; and Nephi Cardejon ('68), who's retired from the military and lives in Sierra Vista, Arizona. She particularly remembers "the friends we made there, and the teachers" from her CCH days. She added that her husband, Richard, also has a sister, Avon Poulsen Okumura ('72), who attended CCH and is a homemaker in Honolulu.
  • Noe's husband, Richard Poulsen ('75, Physical Education), is a Maori from Gisborne, New Zealand They have been living in Salt Lake City where he has worked for the County Recreation Department for the past 28 years. He said he was the first member of his family to go to college, "but because I was on the surfing plan, it took me five years to graduate." He added he was one of the first BYU–Hawaii graduates, "but now I wish I had a CCH degree. My testimony grew and I also met my wife there. The school taught me so much, and all of my friends are from my college days." He also said being at the university helped him be proud of his Maori heritage and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "To grow up at Church College and to learn more about the gospel and why we're here upon the earth has taught me to give more, and to show more love. If you've got a talent, use it to help other people."

After another island-style dinner — this one a "stew-au" with two scoops rice (what else?), mac salad, beef stew and teri chicken — BYUH Vice President for Student Development and Affairs Debbie Hippolite Wright ('78, Social Work) addressed the alumni. Earlier in the week she also attended the BYU–Hawaii/PCC Presidents Leadership Council (PLC) meeting in Salt Lake City, and addressed an alumni group there as well.

"I feel quite humble being in your presence, because I feel like you were the foundation and that your shoulders are what I stood on when I went to school," Hippolite Wright said. She later added she enjoyed herself so much at the reunion, "that I wish I were a CCH alumna, too."

Using a pair of Maori poi balls, Hippolite Wright — a Maori originally from New Zealand — gave a very clever status report on new initiatives at the university. For example, she noted that since being back at BYU–Hawaii this past school year, "there has been an outpouring of the Spirit in my personal life...and there have been a lot of exciting changes, but the spirit on the campus has stayed the same. We have wonderful students. They're willing to go out and be a force for good, not only internationally, but at home. They are coming smarter and stronger. They're more prepared."

CCH Hawaiian music
The reunion featured impromptu Hawaiian music by (left-right) Glenn Kukahiko ('58), Wayne Reis ('72) and Abe Panoke ('68)

She also explained that Alumni combining with Career Services "is actually part of a national that alumni may be more closely connected with the students who are heading out the door. We want you to be more involved in the lives of our students. We want you to be mentors. We want you to help us,to help them find places at home for employment and social support. We're asking our alumni around the world to connect with our students."

"A lot has happened in the past eight months, but we're still in the process of evolving," Hippolite Wright continued. "Please be patient with the process in Alumni Services. There's a lot going on — combining and streamlining. There's exciting online social networking that's coming. We want you to be friends with BYU–Hawaii, and we want you to be able to connect with each other — professionally and regionally. But 'hang loose' a little bit: Alumni Services is really coming into its own, and I'm excited."

"Being an alum of the university, I have a vested interest," she said. "Do not think you're forgotten. You are very, very important to us."

Following Hippolite Wright's presentation, Kay Aina Makaiwi presented her with a $1,000 donation to the university from the CCHers and then, with the assistance of Wayne Reis, the CCNers conducted an auction of various donated items that generated another approximately $3,000, which was also donated to BYU–Hawaii.

Afterward, during an open microphone session, several alumni and others shared their mana'o [thoughts], including:

  • Vance Cannon thanked the committee for helping plan the reunion, recalling he had a great time attending CCH for one year. He also said playing on the basketball team under coach Frank Condie and the late Al Lolotai "was the only basketball team I played on that did football and wrestling calisthenics." Turning more serious, he added, "Church College had such a great influence on so many lives. I'm thankful for my association with you and for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I met my wife at Church College. She wasn't a member...but she saw the light. I appreciate the influence the Church College had in my life."
  • Hutia Tekurio Kaanapu said she enjoyed herself so much that she would like the 2011 reunion to meet in her home islands of Tahiti. A committee is already working on the suggestion.
  • CCH basketball coach Frank Condie, who also served as Business Manager for 10 years and left the university 43 years ago, was thrilled that four of his players were at the reunion: David Almodova (64, Physical Education; who was there with his wife, Ethel Almodova, '71 — they now live in Cedar City, Utah); Jerry Hekekia, Glenn Kukahiko and Vance Cannon. "Earl Veloria ('69, Physical Education) was the only one over six feet, and we had no one to play accept the freshman at the University of Hawaii and Chaminade College," he said, noting that they joined a military league. "I'm happy to tell you that Church College of Hawaii team won that league." Condie also said in 1959, the first year he was CCH branch president, they had one missionary go out at the end of the year. "The next year there were eight students. In 1961 there were 26 students going on missions when the school year ended.
  • Harriett Akiona ('56), one of 17 children from a Hilo family, said, "I'm grateful for the people who helped me get through Church College. The tuition was $30 a quarter, and $50 for room and board. I was the first secretary/treasurer of the student body and historian, Na Hoa Pono [yearbook] and Ke Alaka'i editor." She added she still loves activities, "I make delicious salsa, and I love what I'm doing."
  • Reflecting on Frank Condie saying it had been 43 years since he left Laie, Janice Anderson Ascraft ('59) said, "I don't think you ever leave Laie. Laie stays in your heart, and all you have to do is get around people who were also there: They have that same feeling." She added her flight from California that year took nine hours, "and when I stepped off the plane, you could smell the fragrances."
  • Danny Tapua ('65) recalled arriving from Tahiti, not being able to speak English. "I'm grateful for all of you who attended CCH in the 60s. You set the example for us as we came."

Next reunion:

By the way, the Church College of Hawaii alumni are already working on their next reunion — this one in Maui in 2010. They are also contemplating a 2011 gathering that might take them to Samoa and Tahiti. In addition, the CCHers stay in frequent touch through their own Internet social network, the CAN Lanai on, but CCHers group chairman and site administrator Gary Wong ('60) must first invite those interested in joining. Email him at

Alumni deliver devotionals, presentations on campus:
Several alumni have recently delivered devotionals or other presentations on campus, including:

  • Debbie Hippolite Wright ('78, Social Work), BYUH Vice President for Student Development and Affairs, stressed the importance of following the Lord's will in her January 27 devotional address. Read about it...
  • Kaipo Manoa ('94, Instrumental Music), who works at the Polynesian Cultural Center and also serves as a Hawaiian Studies special instructor, explained the evolution of Hawaiian slack key guitar to the BYUH Honors Society on March 18, and shared some of his own artistry in the distinctive island genre.
  • Makakilo Hawaii Stake President Voi Ray Taeoalii ('86) recalled struggling student days in TVA during his March 3 devotional entitled "Sustenance of Hope." He also applied lessons he's learned as a software engineer toward developing patience, protection and a perfect brightness of hope.
  • Max Purcell ('86), Laie Hawaii Temple Recorder and Laie Hawaii North Stake Second Counselor, spoke tenderly of how the temporary closing of the Laie Temple for renovations over the next approximately 16 months has stirred feelings within him "for this sacred building as never before." Follow the link...
  • PCC Hawaiian cultural expert Cy Bridges ('68) also addressed the BYU–Hawaii Honors Society. In his February 25 presentation he shared his passion and expertise on the historical and genealogical aspects of modern hula. Read more...

Missionary follow-up on '07 Concert Choir tour to China:
Renee Ahuna Cabrinha ('75) shared a recent missionary message from her son, Elder Ammon Cabrinha, who's on leave as a BYU–Hawaii student while serving a mission in Hong Kong.

President Wheelwright and his wife (center, standing) meet with
an English class of returned missionaries in Taichung, Taiwan,
who hope to attend BYU–Hawaii

Elder C, who was a member of the BYU–Hawaii Concert Choir that toured China and Mongolia in 2007, wrote that "my former companion, Elder Whiting, received a call to teach a person from mainland China. Now that's already pretty cool to do, but the story gets better. He meets her and the first thing we ask them is where they're from. She says Xinjiang, one of the provinces that we visited. Elder Whiting knows that I've been there, and he asks her, oh, my former companion went there. Where do you live? She says in Urumqi, which happens to be the city we stayed and performed in. It turns out that she went to both of our concerts and loved them. So I got to meet this lady before she was baptized, and we talked for a little while. She said that she was very moved by the concerts, and I told her we were moved by the people that we met. I've been waiting to meet someone who went to our concerts and now I finally have. The next step is to teach someone that went. So, from this experience I learned you never know the fruits of your labors. Even though you may play a small part in their growth, like in my case, you never know what kind of impact it will have on them. So keep doing missionary work."

Wheelwrights meet with alumni in Asia:
In January BYU–Hawaii President Steven C. Wheelwright and his wife, Margaret, met with alumni in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines. He also received an honorary professorship from Xiamen University in China for his Harvard Business School work in training Chinese business school faculty. "Our alumni are fully committed to the school," he said. "They love what BYU–Hawaii did for them, and they're anxious to help in any way they can." Read more details of the visit...

Checketts meets alumni in New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga:
In February Dr. Max L. Checketts, BYU–Hawaii Vice President for Academics, and former Alumni Association president Arapata Meha ('83, Music), Director of Enrollment Services, met with alumni and important stakeholders in New Zealand, Samoa and American Samoa, and Tonga.

At the annual CES School Principals Convention at Liahona High School in Tonga, Checketts reported on the university's three imperatives: continue to improve the quality of education, serve more students, and reduce the cost to the Church. More than half of those school administrators in attendance are BYUH alumni. A similar presentation was held for all the stake presidents on the main island of Tongatapu and Area Seventy Elder Sione Fineanganofo ('70, Elementary Education).

BYUH alumni, CES leaders in Tonga
CES leaders and BYU–Hawaii alumni in Tonga with Meha and Checketts (center, seated)

In New Zealand the BYUH delegation met with representatives from the University of Waikato in Hamilton and the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) in Auckland, where discussions focused on establishing formal agreements. For example, it is expected that students preparing to attend BYU–Hawaii will enroll in MIT foundation courses, and BYUH graduates will have excellent options for graduate students at UW. But the highlight of the New Zealand visit was a multi-stake fireside in Manukau, where approximately 300 enjoyed a message from Elder Keith Hilbig of the Pacific Area Presidency. Separate sessions with prospective students, parents and alumni were held after the fireside.

In Samoa, in addition to visiting the CES schools at Pesega and Vaiola, Checketts and Meha renewed the relationship with the National University of Samoa that was first put in place in 1998. Area Seventy Douglas Jessop presided at firesides in Apia, and Malaeimi, American Samoa.

Honolulu Chapter:
The Honolulu Chapter of alumni and friends held their annual "spring gathering" at the University of Hawaii Institute of Religion on April 26. Chapter chair Marlo Lopez ('84, Biology), Seminary and Institute Coordinator for the Hawaiian islands, reported that the successful business and Honolulu alumni couple Joe Berardy ('89, Business Management) and his wife, Susana "Susie" DeLeon Berardy ('85, Travel Management) were the  speakers, with Honolulu Stake President Bode Uale ('83) presiding.

Lopez said Joe Berardy stressed the importance giving service to our alma mater. For example, he invited the alumni to help mentor current students, invite them to come over when they're in Honolulu and act as advisors and counselors within their respective areas of expertise. He added that Susie Berardy spoke about the need to balance business and professional careers with spirituality, and related how she and her husband have been able to help spread the gospel and affect many lives through the experiences they had at BYU–Hawaii and through their business.

"The Berardys were terrific speakers," Lopez said, "and those alumni who didn't show up missed a lot. Their emphasis on mentoring reminds us that time may be more important than money."

Korea Chapter:
About 40 alumni and friends attended the Korea Chapter conference on March 21 in Seoul. Newly installed chairman Chang-Kyu Choi ('83), President & CEO of Cornerstone Investment, was introduced; and chapter members heard from Young-Kee Kim, a BYU alum and "one of the most successful business executives in Korea" who is Executive Vice President of LG Electronics on the company's strategies to overcome the economic crisis. "Thanks to his generosity, we were able to hold the conference in the Digital Room at the LG Twins Building, which is one of the most prestigious buildings in Seoul," Choi said. "We really enjoyed our gathering," which included a catered buffet.

BYU–Hawaii alumni in Seoul, Korea
BYUH alumni in Seoul, Korea


Personal Updates


Norman Tree ('63), who lives in Kansas City, Missouri, and is retired, wrote to say he met his wife, Sallianne Merrill Tree ('63) "on the beach at Pounders and we got married one year later."


Mike Wilton ('72, Physical Education) recently announced that he will step down as head coach of the University of Hawaii men's volleyball team when his contract expires on June 30, and accept a position as assistant coach for the BYU Provo women's volleyball team. During his 17-year run at UH, Wilton's teams accumulated a 315-166 [wins-losses] record and won five Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Pacific Division titles, with three NCAA semifinal appearances. Wilton, who has also served as the University of Hawaii Branch President, played for the 1971 and '72 NAIA championship teams during CCH's heyday of men's volleyball. For more...

Gene ('73) and Arlene Platt ('71) — who came to Laie for the December graduation of their son, Gordon Platt ('08, History), and his wife, Katrina Brady Platt ('08, Elementary Education) — wrote: "We feel our time in Laie was a defining experience in our lives. Gene had just returned from his mission in Thailand to his parents' home in Provo, Utah, when he was asked to come to the Hawaii Language Training Mission located on the CCH campus to help with Thai translation while teaching new missionaries and attending college. I took a year off from Rick's College to help my mother and save money for more education, the I got the inspiration to transfer to CCH. Gene and I met at a CCH Leadership Retreat on the North Shore and began dating shortly thereafter. We were married six months later in the newly dedicated Provo Temple and then returned to Laie. We could only afford for one of us to attend college, so Gene taught Thai in the LTM while completing his education. I was employed at the Bank of Hawaii and later on in the Registrar's Office under Wylie Swapp. We lived in the basement apartment of Rita Stone's house on Laie Point. Our son, Briant Sione Platt, was born in Kahuku and attended BYUH in 1994 after serving a mission in Brazil. He's now an attorney in Salt Lake City."

"Gene graduated number-one in his class, but we had to leave before his graduation exercises, to make the new BYU Law School orientation. Gordon's graduation was an emotional one for us both and seemed to give us some closure for having missed out on such a beautiful ceremony on a campus with people we dearly loved. Katrina graduated only days after an emergency C-section to deliver their first child. Another interesting note: Both Platt and Brady fathers are currently serving as stake presidents in Oregon and sit side-by-side on the area council, but neither realized the other had a child attending BYUH until they phoned home in 2006 to say they were dating. Also unbeknown to the parents, both dads served their missions in Thailand, some eight years apart. We attribute many, many choice memories and spiritual growth to our time in Laie; and we thank the Lord we were given such a great blessing, not only for educational purposes, but for the interaction with such a diverse cultural community of Latter-day Saints." The Platt's son-in-law, Abraham Hanson ('02) also attended BYU–Hawaii.

Phyllis Ah Ching Peters ('74), formerly with the Alumni office, is now secretary for the Jonathan Napela Center for Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Studies. "I have appreciated both being part of the Alumni Relations department and the opportunities that have been provided to me during the last 10 years. The time spent working with the chapter chairs, board members, past presidents, alumni, students and others, and the associations I've made have been rewarding and will be memorable for years to come," she said.

Philip Leaning ('79, Art) and his wife, Linda Cerbolles Leaning ('76) wrote from Auckland, New Zealand, where he is head of the art department at Papatoetoe High School, that they "had a great experience at BYU–Hawaii, which is why we sent two of our kids there for part of their education. It was one of the best, most influential stages of our lives."


Atoni Petero ('80, Business Management), former chapter chair in Sydney, wrote from Australia at the end of January that he was leaving the Sydney Presiding Bishopric Office to "move up north to Brisbane/Fiji with my family. A big vinaka vakalevu for the close association. Keep the aloha spirit burning."

Congratulations to Hiram Akina (’83, Physical Education), who in his first year with the Kahuku High boys varsity basketball team coached the Red Raiders to an OIA championship — he also coached his Mililani team to the same championship last year — and went on to lose a heartbreaker to Kamehameha in the final seconds of the state championship, to end up in second place. Akina took over the Kahuku team this school year from Nathan James (’88, History-Government), who also coached the Red Raider boys to a second-place state finish several years ago.


Wai Tong "Wayne" Shek ('97, Fine Arts) wrote to say he met President Wheelwright during his recent trip to Asia and, "as a bishop I am now able to better help the qualified prospective students in my ward." He added that he and his wife, Wah Sha "Salina" Ng Shek ('97, TESOL) "have decided to send every one of our four kids to BYUH if they are prepared and qualified. I told my kids I don't want them to be the richest people in the world, but I would rather see them spiritually educated and helping build the Kingdom here in Hong Kong and China."

Junhyon Park, CFA, CIRA ('99, International Business Management) was recently promoted to Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis for 1-800-CONTACTS, where he has been "very involved in budgeting, modeling, forecasting, analysis and operational reporting" and "played an integral role in the Fenway transaction and the structuring of the Wal-Mart Alliance."

Congratulations to Ualani Mo'o Nagy ('99, Psychology) who received her Certified Professional Secretary designation from the International Association of Administrative Professionals in January — the fourth BYUH staff member to do so (including the late Celva Toa, Theone Taala and Anna Kaanga).


Hsiao-Yun Sue ('00, Computer Science) wrote to say she recently moved back home to Taiwan from the San Francisco area in California to work in the R&D department of an American software company. "I had never worked in Taiwan, and most of the time I feel more like home in California then in Taiwan; but this past Christmas break when I was visiting there, I got an unexpected interview the day before my flight back to San Francisco. Everything came so fast, and before I know it, I was at my life turning point. I prayed a lot and even fasted, and everything led to the decision of accepting this offer and going back to Taiwan. My mom said it's meant to be. I'm very excited, scared, happy and sad. It's almost the same feelings I had when I was about to leave Taiwan to come to America 15 years ago."

Jenica Lee Taylor ('00, Fine Arts), who was born and raised in the Washington DC area, recently accepted a graphic artist position with the Polynesian Cultural Center. After graduating from BYU–Hawaii, she had most recently been teaching at Salt Lake Community College, helped rewrite the multimedia curriculum for the State of Utah high schools, and had her own graphic design company. She and her husband, Jack Taylor — a current BYU–Hawaii student — have three children. "I've always wanted to come back and help improve the program," she said, "and I'm happy to be back in town."

"It's been a few years since Livia and I graduated, and I wish that we could have remained students of BYUH forever," wrote Sean Nufer ('05, Psychology), who now lives in Chicago, Illinois, with his wife, Livia Orikasa Nufer ('05, TESOL). "It's sad to think of that time as just a snapshot now, but it was such a great experience for us."

Ivy Bruder Stiefvater ('06, Information Systems) and her husband, James Stiefvater ('05, Pacific Islands Studies) live in Kahuku and she works for Hawaii Reserves, Inc. (HRI). She recently wrote: "The best experience I had at BYUH was when I was involved in the cultural clubs. I was Melanesian Club president for a whole year and I learned that being a leader isn't all that glamorous. People will like you or dislike you no matter what you do. I never stressed so much in my life but at the end of my term, I gained so much respect for other club presidents because I knew what they had to go through to get things done."

"The best part about attending BYU–Hawaii was being around members who shared the same values," writes Alvish Sami ('08, Information Systems). He and his wife, Sangeeta Devi Sami ('08, Biology Education) now live in Hamilton, New Zealand.


In addition to William K. Wallace III ('72, History), who is listed above, the following CCH/BYU–Hawaii alumni and/or staff members have recently died:

• Roy K. Ah Nee ('59), who had been living in Pearl City, Oahu, passed away at age 72 on January 16. Roy, a U.S. Air Force veteran, was an employee of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands. He is survived by his wife, Arleen Oshiro Ah Nee ('62 Elementary Education), a son, daughter, siblings and seven grandchildren.

• Rance Searl ('60s), who developed Bloom Master hanging baskets and planters, died of cancer on March 27 at his home in Vernal, Utah.

• Tehina Mo'o ('67, Elementary Education) passed away sometime during the evening of February 13 of a heart attack. Mo'o, one of the original Polynesian Cultural Center dancers, had recently retired from BYU–Hawaii where he was last in charge of the Cannon Activities Center physical facilities. He is survived by his wife, Marseilles "Marcy" Nepe Mo'o ('64, Physical Education), children and grandchildren.

• Betty Jean "BJ" Lee ('71, Elementary Education), 75, a former CCH/BYUH Alumni Association director, passed away on February 3. The funeral was held at Nuuanu Ward chapel in Honolulu, where she had been staying with her sister shortly before she died. She was buried on her beloved home island of Molokai. BJ is survived by her son, Kawehi Lee, daughter Stacey Fuller Johnson ('88, Elementary Education), a brother, sister and two grandchildren, among other relatives.

• Fotu Si'ufanua ('72) passed away on October 30, 2008, in Bountiful, Utah. He and his wife, Christina Dianne Walker Si'ufanua ('68) returned to American Samoa to teach at the former Mapusaga High School and he went on to work as a CES Seminary & Institute instructor for 31 years. While serving as coordinator, and then director of that program in Samoa, he also served in the Pago West and Apia East Stake presidencies, and later as patriarch for the Pago West Stake until the family moved to Anchorage, Alaska, in 2004. They moved to Utah in September 2008. "Thank you to all who have shared your love and feelings with us as a family," wrote Dianne. "I know that my husband is happy and watching over us."

• Mongkul Tungmaln passed away on January 18 at his home in Mountain Green, Utah, after battling brain cancer for 15 months. After joining the Church in his native Thailand in 1970, Mongkul attended BYU–Hawaii and went on to earn a PhD. degree in ESL linguistics and educational administration from BYU. In his professional life he worked for Jordan School District in Utah, Weber State University and Northern Arizona University, and received many teaching awards. He also served as bishop of the Asian Ward in Salt Lake City. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, five children, two grandchildren, and siblings in Thailand.

• Uwe Kragl, 69, a BYU–Hawaii Physical Plant worker in the 1980s, passed away in Harker Heights, Texas, on January 21 from cancer, after being diagnosed two months earlier. Kragl, who was originally from Germany and served in the French Foreign Legion for five years, immigrated to Hawaii in 1974. His wife, Kristin Kragl, worked in the BYU–Hawaii Post Office. He is also survived by two daughters (Ute and Ursula) and three grandchildren. Aloha 'Oe and a lei presentation were part of his funeral service.

• Linda Kim, wife of Mililani Stake President Dennis Kim and a volunteer in the BYU–Hawaii Career Services office, passed away on December 26, 2008. The Kim family are BYU–Hawaii alumni and supporters, and both President and Sister Kim have spoken at BYUH devotionals.

• Gerald LaPenes, a long-term Laie resident who retired in 1999 after working for more than 20 years in BYU–Hawaii Housing maintenance, died on February 7. Jerry's son, John LaPenes ('91), works in BYUH Food Services, and his wife, Lee, is a former Food Services employee.

• Anita Henry, a long-time employee of the Joseph F. Smith Library until her retirement in 2003, passed away on March 12. "Anita will be remembered for her gracious service and dedication," colleagues said. She is survived by her husband, "Bud" Lehman Henry, daughters Lisa and Leelani, and four grandchildren.


Editor's Note: Because I've had the privilege of living in Laie and associating closely with the university for many years, I don't usually assign any distinction between the Church College of Hawaii and the BYU–Hawaii years...but I must say that the group of CCHers who recently held a three-day reunion in Las Vegas and Warm Springs, Nevada, as well as Tuacahn in St. George, Utah, reminded me again of the special feelings we old-timers enjoyed in those early decades of our alma mater. We had a wonderful reunion, prompting several more-recent graduates there to say they wished they were CCH alumni, too. I hope as the years roll by all of you increasingly recognize how precious our time and experience together has been, and how blessed we are to be part of David O. McKay's legacy.

Mike Foley ('70, TESL), Editor



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The BYU–Hawaii Alumni eNewsletter is published for the BYUH/CCH Alumni Association by the University Relations office, under the direction of Dr. William G. Neal, Assistant to the President; Dr. Debbie Hippolite Wright, Vice President for Student Development and Affairs; Kimbrelyn Austin, Director of Career and Alumni Services; and Michael Johanson, Director of Communications & Public Relations.

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