Staying in e-touch

August, 2002

Aloha nui, dear alumni and friends of Brigham Young University Hawaii Campus.

For those of you whose current e-mail addresses we have on file, you are receiving the inaugural edition of our new BYU-Hawaii Alumni Association electronic newsletter. We hope you not only enjoy it, but also find it useful and look forward to future issues.

Objectives: With this e-newsletter, we take advantage of the Internet and other developing media to:

  • Stay in closer contact with you;
  • Foster a cyber-community among all of us who have attended this great institution to help stay in better touch with each other;
  • Share news and other important information from BYU-Hawaii;
  • Inform you of new policies and programs, helping you to encourage and prepare future generations of BYUH students;
  • Profile individual alumni, their fond memories, mana'o [thoughts], and successes;
  • Ask you to give us your feedback, ask questions, share your best memories; and…
  • Add your ongoing strength and contributions to the prophetic mission of BYU-Hawaii.

President David O. McKay broke ground for this great university on February 12, 1955 — almost 50 years ago. But his vision of BYU-Hawaii goes back to the U.S. flag-raising ceremony he witnessed on February 7, 1921, at Laie School, when he foresaw that some day a university would be built here. This memorable scene so beautifully rendered in mosaic graces the entrance to the McKay building and is the showpiece of our campus.

President McKay's vision has more efficacy today than ever. He foresaw that BYU-Hawaii would become a unique focal point of educational, cultural and spiritual strength: He prophesied that that strength — you, my brothers and sisters — would go forth from here as leaders to help strengthen your homelands and spread peace internationally, especially in the Pacific islands and Asian rim.

As time goes by, your experiences and degrees from BYU will increase in value again and again. They will increase in terms not only of your own education, career preparation, as well as personal and spiritual advancement, but also of how the world perceives this campus. By coming here, you have participated in a remarkable plan for this part of the world. Therefore, it behooves each of you to ask: Am I individually fulfilling the promise, the destiny and the prophetic calling enunciated by President McKay? Am I worthy of this heritage? Am I adding to it?

Sharing the treasures: I would like to suggest two ways you might share the treasures you received here:

We have a goal of raising $24 million by the end of 2005, our golden jubilee. Some of you have already contributed, taking advantage of the Keith & Carol Jenkins Matching Gift Fund program, which quadruples the value of your contribution; but our records show that many have not. Please take a moment to review the exceptionally generous Jenkins matching fund program, which enables us to leverage all alumni donations; and then link to our LDS Foundation office, or contact your nearest Alumni chapter chair.

We're mindful that almost all of you have financial obligations, and that some of you live under challenging economic conditions. Even if the amount you can contribute is modest, the percentage of alumni who contribute to BYU-Hawaii is also an important measure of your satisfaction. Some universities can boast that as many as 80 percent of their alumni give contributions.

Finally, we also need you to share your own testimonies of hope and gratitude with alumni and future students everywhere. These will help them to understand the blessings of this campus. I'm convinced, as good as we are, we must be able to tell that story. We owe it to President McKay's remarkable foresight.

This is one of the reasons I have directed Napua Baker (attended 1959-61, 70-72), our Vice President of University Advancement, to launch this BYU-Hawaii Alumni Association newsletter. Napua is working closely with Rob Wakefield, our new Director of Marketing and Communications, and his staff; and Rowena Reid ('76, BS, Social Work), Alumni Affairs Director, and her staff on this project. Napua has also recently contracted with Mike Foley('70, BA, TESL), our Alumni Association president-elect and a skilled marketing communications consultant, to provide content materials and help with the writing.

We hope you enjoy this newsletter…so much so that you'll pass it along to other alumni whose e-mail addresses we might not have, and encourage them to subscribe; and so much so, that you'll share your own stories with us.

What a wonderful work to which we belong. I rejoice every day for my association with Brigham Young University Hawaii and all of you.

Wishing you the warmest aloha,

President Eric B. Shumway



Homecoming: 47 years later

This year's Homecoming week — actually 10 days of activities in February — included the usual fun: entertainment on the Aloha Center mall, our folksy community parade, a Valentine's dinner and ball at the Polynesian Cultural Center, a fun run, a lively food fest in the Little Circle, and the Seasiders basketball team corralling the Western New Mexico mustangs, among other things.

But we also took the time to reflect on BYU-Hawaii's great heritage and future…by hearing Prof. Ron Jackson deliver the Founder's Day David O. McKay lecture on "LDS Visual Piety," presenting Alumni awards, holding a two-day Alumni Chapter Chair conference, and ending with a Sunday evening fireside.

Honored Alumni & Student Banquet:

As is customary at the banquet held on February 13th, the BYU-Hawaii Student Associationrecognized several students for their outstanding contributions, including:

  • Pablo Penaloza, Business
  • Charles Higby, Computing
  • Romina Villamonte, Exercise/Sports Science
  • Jesse Palmer, Literature/Language/Culture

Alumni Awards:

The academic divisions recognized as their Honored Alumni:

Stephen Chee Kong Lai (attended 1980-81) / Behavioral & Social Sciences.

After serving a mission in his native Singapore, Stephen started as an accounting major at BYU-Hawaii, but soon found he was more interested in human relationships. Stephen accumulated two years of credit in one-and-a-half years at BYUH, which did not offer a psychology degree at that time; and then transferred to BYU where he eventually earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.

Following his graduate studies and being away from home for more than a decade, Stephen and his wife, Valoy, returned to Singapore where he now works in human resources and maintains a small, private clinical practice.

In 1999 BYU-Hawaii asked Stephen to serve as recruitment facilitator for Singapore and Malaysia; and the following year President Shumway named him the BYUH Alumni Chapter chairman for Singapore.

Stephen currently serves as Second Counselor in the Singapore Stake Presidency, and says he finds "great joy when he can help members and friends better their lives through the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Henry K. Nawahine III ('75, physical education) / Exercise & Sports Sciences:

'Hank,' who is from Laie, attended Rick's college on a football scholarship after graduating from Kahuku High. From there he went on to play for the BYU Cougars, returning years later as a non-traditional student to complete his bachelor's degree in 1975. Since then, Hank filled many coaching positions on the mainland, taking the time to earn a master's of educational administration degree from BYU in 1986.

Returning to Hawaii, Hank worked as a counselor and assistant vice principal at Kahuku High. Hank joined BYU-Hawaii's staff five years ago as "coach" (i.e. Director) of International Student Services, but he also still serves as an assistant coach on Kahuku's state championship football team.

Glen Penrod ('83, TESOL) / Languages & Linguistics

Originally from Lehi, Utah, Glen says while serving a mission in Hong Kong he developed a great love for the people of Asia and a desire to return in a useful capacity.

Following his graduation, he earned a master's degree in linguistics from BYU, and returned to BYU-Hawaii to teach in the EIL and Continuing Education ESL programs. In 1988, Glen went to Taiwan to open a new ESL program. While there, he also held other ESL positions in business, government and academia, eventually overseeing 21 teachers and over 600 students at the American Institute. In 1993, Glen went to work for the Samsung Corporation in Korea, helping establish their multimedia computer and listening labs.

Five years later, Glen returned to Utah to develop his own company, Dymon Publications, which produces books and games for the ESL market. He also teaches part-time at the University of Utah. He still loves to travel, recently spending a year with a computer firm in Singapore, and working in a teacher-training program in Beijing.

Barbara Philips Robertson ('56, Elementary Education) / School of Education

Barbara, who was born on the Parker Ranch, attended Rick's College for one year before coming to Laie, where she was among the first associate degree graduates from the Church College of Hawaii.

Following enlistment in the Air Force, during which she met her husband at the Pentagon, the couple moved to Florida for 16 years. To finish her bachelor's degree, Barbara commuted over 100 miles while balancing home duties and teaching fulltime. After her children were born, Barbara earned a library certification so she could stay closer to home, and worked in that field for six years.

In 1976, Barbara and her family returned to the Big Island where she taught at Hawaii Preparatory Academy for seven years. The private school then sent her on sabbatical to the University of West Florida, where she earned a master's degree in principalship and supervision. After her graduate studies, she returned and helped the academy open a branch school in Kona.

Nine years ago, as a single parent Barbara took a job with Kamehameha School's early education (KEEP) program in Waianae…until three years later when they asked her to take over their new Big Island school in Keaau, mauka of Hilo. She moved back to Waimea, commutes every day, and said she is thrilled with her work.

Brent Schwenke ('81, Travel Industry Management; '82, Accounting) / School of Business

Brent is a double-alumnus of BYU-Hawaii, having earned two degrees here. From Laie, Brent moved on to earn an M.B.A. degree from Chaminade University in Honolulu and also started a management-training program with Bank of Hawaii.

Bankoh has since posted Brent to branches in Guam, American Samoa, Saipan…and 10 years ago, back to American Samoa as Branch Manager and Vice President. He was recently promoted to Country Manager and Vice President.

Of course, Brent says a lot of the credit for his success goes to his wife, Tagivale Faumuina (attended 1979-80). Brent and Tagi oversee the American Samoa Alumni Chapter, one of the largest and most active of all BYU international chapters in the world.

Dean Schwenke ('82, Construction Supervision) / Math & Sciences

Dean Schwenke, Brent's brother, was already working as a draftsman for the Church Architect in the Honolulu Area Presiding Bishop's Office before graduating in 1982. The experience and degree led him to other projects in Hawaii, including conducting field surveys of existing military facilities and converting them to drawings. He also began to supervise on-site construction projects.

Eager for new experiences, Dean and his family moved to Arlington, Texas, where he worked for a national homebuilder on projects in the Lone Star state, Atlanta and Arizona. A few years later, he moved to southern California where he is now construction supervisor for RBB Architects, Inc. The firm specializes in designing hospitals, medical facilities and universities throughout the country. For example, Dean has worked on the St. Francis Hospital addition in Honolulu, Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills, and the UCLA Replacement Hospital in Westwood.

Dean is currently Los Angeles Alumni Chapter chair.

Vernice Wineera ('77, English) / Literature, Language & Cultural Studies

After raising a family of seven children, and serving a Church mission in New Zealand, Wineera completed her undergraduate education at BYU-Hawaii in 1977. She then worked at the Polynesian Cultural Center, serving her last 10 years as a senior vice president. "My English studies prepared me for decision-making at the highest level of corporate life," she said at the Homecoming fireside.

Following her service at PCC and continuing her life-long desire for education, Wineera joined the BYUH Institute for Pacific Studies, which she currently directs, and went on to earn a master's degree in American Studies. She recently completed her Ph.D. in the same field.

"I believe I was successful in those programs largely because of the successful grounding I had in English right here," she said at the fireside. "Many times in graduate classes I felt sorry for young students who couldn't understand the premise of a book because they hadn't attended church — any church."

Following these awards, the Alumni Association then bestowed two of its highest awards:

Percy Te Hira, Community Service Award

Percy Te Hira, who recently retired from BYHU-Hawaii after working in the  Physical Plantdepartment for more than 40 years, was born in New Zealand — the fourth of 18 children.

Following his education at Whatawhata, Frankton and the Hamilton Technical College, he was called in April 1952 to serve for three years as one of the first labor missionaries in his homeland. In 1958 he was called again as a labor missionary, helping to complete the Church College of New Zealand campus and the nearby Temple.

In June 1960 Percy was called yet again as a labor missionary, this time to Hawaii where he helped build the back dormitories, additions to the Temple and Visitors Center, faculty housing on Moana Street, the Temple President's and other missionary housing, and finally thePolynesian Cultural Center.

Following his release, Percy went to work for PCC in the maintenance area, and also performed in the night show as a musician and Maori dancer. In 1968 he transferred to the university's Physical Facilities division, and worked there fulltime until just last month. He has supervised and helped hundreds, if not more, BYUH students to develop their work ethics in that capacity.

In addition, throughout all those years, Percy not only built and maintained many of the BYUH campus buildings, he also helped build several generations of Boy Scouts in Laie and Koolauloa. Percy spent countless hours with the young community men.

The BYU-Hawaii Alumni Association presented Percy with its Community Service Award not only for his aroha nui and personal contributions, but also as a representative of all those outstanding men and women who served as labor missionaries in the 1950s and '60s, helping build God's kingdom in Laie.

Falema'o M. Pili ('74, Accounting, Business Management), Distinguished Alumni Award

Ma'o or "Phil" Pili, who worked his way through the last graduating class of Church College of Hawaii by teaching karate in the evenings, earned double degrees before returning to American Samoa.

Since then, Ma'o translated his education into a stellar business career, owning beverage distribution, import and export, road striping and accounting firms in both Samoa and on the mainland. He has also served in various financial positions with the Government of American Samoa and in the health care industry. He was an auditor for Deloitte Touche and Arthur Young, CPAs; served as president of the American Samoa Employees Federal Credit Union, was a financial consultant to the Development Bank of American Samoa, and is the current president of the American Samoa Small Business Association.

During his business career, Ma'o earned an M.B.A. degree and is currently completing his Ph.D. dissertation on offshore banking in the Pacific.

With such obvious organizational skills, it was inevitable that Ma'o was also called to serve as an LDS bishop, high councilor, stake mission president; eight years as a stake counselor, seven more years as stake president, Regional Representative; and he has currently been serving as stake president again for the past seven years. In addition, Ma'o represents all South Pacific international alumni chapters on the BYU Alumni Association board of directors.

Ma'o has been married to Vicky Lua, who is originally from Laie, for the past 37 years. The couple has seven children and seven grandchildren.

Ma'o also addressed the student body and community members during a fireside program on Sunday evening, February 17th. During this concluding Homecoming activity, he told the audience, "We need to be appreciative of this great university. From it have come an extraordinary number of leaders in the South Pacific."

He also outlined his "founding STOP principles…which will bring success in your life":

1) Sacrifice — "an integral principle of God's plans."
2) Trust "…in the Lord with all thy heart…"
3) Obedience — "'Walk with me' [the Savior] are three powerful words in understanding obedience."
4) Prayer — "You and I cannot do without it."

News of BYU-Hawaii and Alumni

In other news of BYU-Hawaii and our fellow alumni:

  • BYU-Hawaii formed the new School of Computing at the beginning of winter semester 2002, combining three departments that already existed in other departments or schools. Professor Robert Hayden is dean of the new school. Eighteen professors teaching in the three departments of the new school. Elaine Merrill serves as chair of the math department, Don Colton is chair of the computer science department, andDean Davis replaces Hayden as chair of information systems.
  • On November 3, 2001, Elder Russell M. Ballard of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, dedicated BYUH's new 57-foot traditional Hawaiian double-hulled sailing canoe, and named it Iosepa — the Hawaiian name of President Joseph F. Smith and also the Polynesian colony founded in Utah in 1889. The Iosepa is an integral part of the university's Hawaiian Studies Program and will eventually be sailed interisland. Thousands joined the dedication at Hukilau Beach which included Polynesian protocol and gift giving, special music and hula, speeches, and a free luau for everybody. Many helped launch the Iosepa. President Shumway described the celebration as "the largest crowd the Hukilau has ever seen."
  • The new multi-stake center under construction between the library and TVA is nearly completed and will probably be dedicated later this month.
  • In sports, the BYUH basketball team recently received an at-large berth in the NCAA Division II West Regional playoffs in San Bernardino, California; and Head Coach Ken Wagner was named PacWest Coach of the Year. The BYUH men's tennis team is ranked No. 1, and the women's team is ranked No. 2.
  • Dean Schwenke reported that the Los Angeles chapter held a very successful activity two years ago at the Queen Mary attraction in Long Beach. "We had people from Washington and all over attend," he said. Schwenke added that the chapter is also working with the LDS Foundation and LDS Public Affairs on a combined barbecue for the foreign consular corps in the area. That event is tentatively scheduled for September 27th or 28th.
  • Anand Sangaa, an international business major from Mongolia, and his partner, Namuuna Dashdorj, also from Mongolia recently won $5,000 in the annual BYUH entrepreneurial competition for his business plan to establish U.S.-style self-service automated laundries in Ulan Bator. He said few people there own washers or dryers, and government-owned laundries can take three days to clean clothes. Devon Moncur, a sophomore from Idaho, won the $2,500 second place prize in the competition with his motorcycle related apparel plan.
  • Raymond Jou ('90, BS, Computer Science), San Francisco alumni chairman said the Bay area chapter "has a goal at the end of three years to endow a scholarship; and, so far, we are on schedule." Jou, who works as a software engineer and coordinates chip production in his native Taiwan, explained, "It takes $60,000 to establish a perpetually endowed scholarship." BYU graduate Gaugau Tavana, Kauai chapter chair who works with Dr. Paul Cox at the National Botanical Gardens on the Garden Island, added that by taking advantage of the Keith & Carol Jenkins Matching Fund program, "this means a chapter only has to raise $15,000 to endow a scholarship."
  • Daniel ('82, BS, Social Management) and Gwen Ho Ching Meredith ('83, BS, Office Management) have recently been named Alumni Chapter chairs for [Western] Samoa.
  • Scott Bradshaw ('00, BS, Business Fundamentals), son of Dr. James Bradshaw and his wife, Jeanie, of Laie, was recently hired at BYU-Hawaii as off-campus housing coordinator.
  • Choon James ('79, BA, English), a former BYU-Hawaii Alumni Association president and now chair of the Koolauloa chapter, reported that after years of making good use of Helen Goo's (attended 1964-66) lion head for Chinese New Year and other lion dance celebrations, a new head has been ordered from Malaysia.
  • Brent Schwenke reported "we had about 300 people show up" at the American Samoa Alumni chapter variety show fundraiser on November 24, 2001. "We found that using the kids brought the parents, too. From the results of that show, our kids were invited to perform at the New Year's Day high school all-star football game." Brent's wife, Tagi, noted that the event raised almost $7,000 and added over 100 names to the list of alumni there. [Editor's note: For each 100 alumni in a chapter who contribute to BYU-Hawaii, the Keith & Carol Jenkins Matching Fund will donate $2,500, in addition to the 4-to-1 matching funds on the individual alumni contributions.] "We're doing another big project in May," Tagi said.
  • The Schwenkes reported that Edward Stevenson (attended 1968-71), who works for the Department of Education in American Samoa, was recently called as Mapusaga Stake President there, and that Melila Purcell's ('78, BS, Education) son, Mel, recently received a football scholarship to play for the University of Hawaii. Melila, by the way, is activity chairman for the American Samoa Alumni chapter and works as the human resources manager for Star-Kist.
  • Kathleen Taukolo ('98, BSW, Social Work) didn't waste any time organizing an Oregon Alumni chapter in April.

We hope you enjoyed…

…our first BYU-Hawaii Alumni Association Internet newsletter, which we have initially posted to the approximately 2,000 e-mail addresses we have on file. Of course, we all realize some of these will not be current.

Therefore, as President Shumway requested above, please forward this to any of our BYUH alumni with whom you're in e-contact and encourage them to subscribe.

We also encourage you to stay in touch with us. Reply to this posting, or e-mail:

Rowena Reid, Alumni Affairs Director

Phyllis Peters, Alumni Affairs secretary

Mike Foley, newsletter editor

…and let us know how you're doing, what you're doing, and where you're doing it. Let us know how you feel about your alma mater, given the perspective of time and distance since you were here.

We would like to include some of your feedback with the stories we've already started to line up for the next issue. For example, we're going to take a more detailed look at recent changes in admission policies and strategies, and review new placement services for both students and alumni.


So, until next time, aloha nui to all of you.