Utah alumni meet on Temple Square

April, 2003

Our April 2003 BYU-Hawaii Alumni Association e-mail newsletter contains:

  • News about BYU-Hawaii and our fellow alumni, including: several who are called as Area Authority Seventies, a new placement director, Hawaii 'mothers of the year,'President Shumway's devotional address at BYU-Idaho, several sports reports and a Hawaiian Studies professor takes on historical responsibilities.


Utah alumni meet on Temple Square

By Amie Leavitt ('92)
Utah Chapter Board Member

While having a lei of roses and orchids draping my shoulders is a most heavenly and aromatic experience, it's even more invigorating to be surrounded by the spirit which is so indicative of BYU-Hawaii. Even though it's been years since I was a student there, I recognized the feeling of BYUH as soon as I walked through the doors of the Inn at Temple Square. Maybe it's the smiling faces. Maybe it's the genuine kindness that is expressed by those who share the same love for the islands. Or, maybe it's because there's a common feeling and sense of purpose that comes from the knowledge that BYUH has a mission set forth by a Prophet of God. Regardless of the reasons, there is definitely a spirit of BYUH that travels beyond the tropical paradise and emerald green peaks of Laie. This spirit radiates in every person who is associated with the university and lives on in each of us throughout the rest of our lives. Sometimes it takes something as simple as a fireside and president's reception to help you remember those feelings from your BYUH/CCH experience.

President Shumway
(more pictures)

On Saturday, March 22, the alumni of BYUH and Church College of Hawaii met for the first time in an official Alumni Fireside and President's Reception held in downtown Salt Lake City. The afternoon began at the Inn at Temple Square where alumni and dignitaries mingled for approximately two hours while dining on chocolate mousse and NY-style blueberry cheesecake. Ok, so it was probably secretly hoped by many that there would be some authentic island cuisine (e.g. PCC's guava cake, kalua pig and poi) but the cheesecake was still delightful nonetheless.

Across the street at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, the fireside began at 4 p.m. The general theme of the meeting was that of catching the vision of BYU-Hawaii. Music was provided by the Combined Tongan Alumni Choir, Divine Heritage and Joseph Ah Quin.

Keith and Carol Jenkins, members of the President's Leadership Council, were the first two speakers on the program. Sister Jenkins encouraged us to become involved in helping others by using our gifts to bless the lives of others. Brother Jenkins compared Laie to the "city on the hill," explaining that the prophetic mission of BYUH and PCC is designed to kindle additional lights in each of us. Along with devoting their time and talents to the success of BYUH over the past few years, Brother and Sister Jenkins have also generously offered their financial support to the university by matching private donations four times over. So, if you donate $20 to the BYUH scholarship fund, the Jenkins will match it by contributing $80. Numerous students from around the world will have the opportunity to obtain an education at BYUH due to the Jenkins' commitment to the mission of BYUH.

Brother Dick Clissold was next on the program. He spoke on behalf of his father, Edward LaVaun Clissold, who was a driving force behind the construction of BYUH and the PCC. He told of an experience that he had with his father back in the early 1950's. As the two were horseback riding on the hillsides above the temple, his father pointed towards the southeast and said that he had a vision of a Polynesian Cultural Center. This center would be a place where young people from many lands could learn more about their own cultures while earning money for their education. This was a remarkable story considering the PCC was only then a vision and didn't become reality until 1963. Edward Clissold was a true example of loyalty, faith and good works. BYUH and the PCC exist today because of his hard work and determination.

President Shumway was the concluding speaker in an address he dubbed as the "state of the campus." After giving a brief history of the college and explaining BYUH's current status in the world of higher education, he outlined the goals of the university for the next five years.

1.     Intensify Efforts to Fulfill the Prophetic Mission. Currently the student body consists of 60% United States students and 40% International students. Within five years, the hope is that those percentages will be flipped. If the focus is going to be on international students in the future, there must be an increase in the amount of scholarship money available.

2.     Strengthen Curriculum of International Business. Learning English is essential to the success of students when they return home after BYUH. An increased emphasis is going to be placed on the university's TESOL program over the next five years.

3.     Integrate PCC Work Experiences with the University's Learning Environment. There need to be more work study scholarships in conjunction with the PCC. Currently 1/3 of the student body works at the center.

Alumni and friends met prior to the fireside in the President's Reception at the Inn on the Square.


4.     Increase Number of Students Returning to their Home Areas.While BYUH students are a "light" and a positive influence regardless of where they venture in life, it is hoped that more international students will return to their own countries to "build Zion" in their homelands.

5.     Enhance Our Role as a Model of Harmony Amidst Cultural Diversity.  One of the things that visitors are most impressed with when visiting the university is the harmony that exists among the students. BYUH is a "living laboratory" where racial and cultural understanding are experienced in every day living. Seventy countries are represented in a student body of only 2,400 which makes BYUH one of the most unique universities in the world. The Jonathan Napela Center for Hawaiian Language and Cultural Studies is just one of the programs to be enhanced over the next five years at the university.

Along with stating the goals of the university, President Shumway encouraged alumni to plan on attending the Golden Jubilee to celebrate BYU-Hawaii's 50th Anniversary in 2005 from October 16-23. Clips were also shown from a new video about prophecies surrounding the history of Laie, BYUH and the PCC.

Following President Shumway's remarks, the fireside concluded with alumni and friends joining hands and singing Hawaii Aloha.

EDITOR's NOTE: Mahalo to Amie Leavitt, a freelance journalist and member of the Utah Chapter board, for submitting her coverage of the reception and fireside (read additional coverage of the event). Amie, who lives in Payson, Utah, has done work for America Online, Harcourt-Brace, McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin, and other clients, and is currently writing a children's book.

Mahalo also to all those who helped plan and conduct the event, including David and Sue Settle, chapter chairs; Ken and Delma Baldridge and helpers, fireside committee; Sione Ika ('81) and the Combined Tongan Alumni Choir, accompanied by Leticia Wolfgramm; Gina Manuleleua and Divine Heritage, accompanied by Bertha Samoa; and Uncle Joe Ah Quin, accompanied by Randy Booth ('76).

While attending the fireside, I was also able to gather some additional personal updates, which are included below.



Alumni Area Authorities
President McKay's vision that Church College of Hawaii/BYU-Hawaii would produce leaders for the world was fulfilled again during the last LDS General Conference when alumniBeaver Ho Ching ('67) from American Samoa and Pita Vamanrav ('71, Electronics) of Tonga were called as Area Authority Seventies.

New Placement Director
S. Kimbrelyn Austin, who has been teaching business courses at a university in China for the past four years and consulting with the government and local businesses, is the new BYU-Hawaii Director of Career Networking and Placement.

"Austin understands that the mission of BYU-Hawaii is to train leaders for Asia and the South Pacific," said University President Eric B. Shumway. "It's difficult for students to consider going back to their countries without the options of employment. She will work to secure good jobs for our graduates."

Austin, who is originally from Gilmer, Texas, earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1977 and a master's in vocational marketing education and business education in 1982 from the University of North Texas. She will start her new responsibilities in July 2003.

Hawaii 'mothers of year'
The Hawaii Association of American Mothers, Inc. has named Mervlyn Swain Kitashima — wife of alumnus Daniel Kitashima ('75, Mathematics) — as "Hawaii Mother of the Year 2003," and Lanett Harmon Ho Ching ('86) as "Hawaii Young Mother of the Year 2003."

Kitashima, the parent coordinator for Kamehameha Schools, has touched the lives of thousands as a national and international speaker on children's issues. She and her husband are the parents of seven children and five grandchildren. They now live in Pearl City.

Ho Ching extends herself not only to her own six children but to community children through participation in Church services, Scouting and school projects. "I believe that every child is a precious gift, to be carefully nurtured into adulthood," she said. Lanett and her husband, Francis Ho Ching ('87, Business Management) live in Laie.

Kitashima and Ho Ching will vie for their respective national titles at the American Mothers Inc. convention in Washington D.C. later this month. BYU-Hawaii 'first lady' Carolyn Shumway ('94, Elementary Education) was named American National Mother of the Year in 1996-97.

President Shumway delivers BYU-Idaho devotional
BYU-Hawaii President Eric Shumway focused on the parable of the sheep and the goats during his April 1 devotional at BYU-Idaho, and the Savior's central themes of preparation, human capacity and performance, and divine judgment leading up to His second coming.

Sports Reports
In the big BYU-Hawaii sports news, both the men's and women's tennis teams took first place in the Pac West Conference. The Seasider netters had to go to Billings, Montana, to defeat Hawaii Pacific U. For the women, that was their 70th straight conference victory.

Senior basketball forward Alexus Foyle was recently named to the Daktronics NCAA II All-America Second Team, as nominated and voted on by sports information directors throughout the nation. Foyle, who first started playing basketball when he reached college, led the Seasiders 20 times in scoring this year and was named back-to-back Pacific West Conference Player of the Year.

In other sports news, the BYU-Hawaii women's softball team ended their season on April 12 with a 20-24 overall record, including 8-10 in Pac West Conference play. Though tallying a losing season, the Lady Siders record reflects a major improvement over last year when they won a total of 10 games, and only two of those in conference play.

For more BYU-Hawaii sports news.

Hawaiian Studies professor
...and alumnus R. Kamoa'e Walk ('87, Business Management) has recently been asked to serve on the editorial board of Ka Ho'oilina (The Legacy), a scholarly journal that focuses on translating and modernizing the huge treasure trove of Hawaiian information and literature published between 1834-1948. There are approximately a quarter-million pages of works in Hawaiian that Walk and fellow scholars hope to make more available to contemporary students. 
Read more about it.


Chapter Updates

BYU-Hawaii alumni in the Phoenix, Arizona area
— joined by alumni and friends from Utah.

The Arizona Chapter, headed byKepiloni ('95, Accounting) andShauna Foliaki ('95, Travel Management), shared pictures of their March luau.

Honolulu chairs Rob ('77, Accounting) and Mary Lou Hardisty ('89, Physical Education) have completed reorganizing the chapter, with the following now serving: Carol Jaros ('01), co-chair; Chris Sepp ('01, International Business Management), secretary; Randall Peterson ('02, Information Systems), placement;Calvin Kaawaloa ('94), activities; and Rick Hardisty ('86, Business Management), membership.

The chapter plans to have a potluck picnic at Kualoa Park on May 24 from noon to 5:00 p.m. The chapter will provide barbecue and drinks, while the rest of the grinds are assigned potluck. Call Carol Jaros at 277-6510. Other alumni and friends are invited, butplease RSVP for planning purposes.

The Minnesota Chapter has just reorganized, with Allison Smith Amezcua ('87) and her husband, Hector Amezcua Jr. ('87) as the new chairs; Fred Moimoi, activity director; and Luka Lealaitafea Westin ('76, Elementary Education), secretary/treasurer.

Chapter chairs Motekiai and Kathleen Snyder Taukolo ('98, Social Work) invite all alumni in the area to attend the chapter's second annual Spring Reunion on May 24 from 6-11:30 p.m. at the Beaverton Stake Center. The Taukolos said the evening will include "a potluck, talent show and dance. We are inviting all alumni and friends." The Taukolos added that the chapter is holding regular fundraising activities and is planning a luau in July. "Our activities committee is also planning some sports days for the summer. We're going to have lots of opportunity to reconnect and feel the ohana spirit. Also, we're planning to award two book scholarships in the fall for any BYUH student from Oregon." The Taukolos can be reached at 503-762-8334.

Chapter chair Stephen Chee Kong Lai ('80) reports the alumni have postponed their fundraising kickoff activity from April 26 to May 31. He explained the postponement is linked to the Area Presidency's concern over the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic and decision to cancel meetings on three recent Sundays. "At this time, we have been counseled to exercise faith over anxiety," Lai said, "and to observe all health and medical practices. In a way, it helps to get the members together."

The special fireside in the Assembly Hall, as reported above, is the chapter's big event for this spring. Congratulations to chairs Dave and Sue Settle and their committee members.A holoku ball, that was earlier planned for this month, has been postponed at least until next fall. Check the chapter website for updates.


Personal Updates


We recently heard from Nan Ellen Simmons Ah You ('71, Home Economics), who works in the Astronomy and Physics Department at BYU.

Stephen Baldridge ('74) was one of the Utah alumni at the President's Reception on March 22. He now lives in Murray, UT, and works as a ultra high-speed camera documentation specialist. He is the son of former BYU history professor Ken Baldridge, who retired in 1993, and his wife, Delma. The couple served a mission in Toronto, Canada and now live in Pleasant Grove, UT. Steve said he really misses "the sense of 'ohana. Even if you didn't know everybody, you usually knew somebody who did. I miss that a lot."

Matt Loveland ('76, Accounting) and his wife, Teresa Perazzo ('79), whom he met at BYU-Hawaii, and their five children now live in Farmington, UT. He does economic analyses for a large utility holding company.

Jean Malkovich Niu ('77, Child Development) recently wrote to let us know her husband,Howard Niu ('78, Industrial Tech Automotive) had been working for the Church in Tonga for a number of years until they were transferred to Auckland, New Zealand, last year to work in the Church's Pacific islands office there. We reported last month that their daughter, Malie Niu Sasaki ('97, Biological Sciences) and her husband, Randy Sasaki, live in Arizona, while daughter Tiana Niu Sika ('00, TESOL) and her husband, Viliami Sika ('02, Mathematics), recently moved to Tonga. The couple has another daughter,Jennifer, who interrupted her studies at BYU-Hawaii to serve in the Utah-Provo Mission and a son attending BYU.

Joseph Madsen ('77) often thinks "of all the wonderful people I had classes with, played football in the rain, going to Pounders to body surf, riding TheBus to Ala Moana Shopping Center and king-size plate lunches at Pattie's Chinese Kitchen, and learning about all the different cultures in the South Pacific and Asia. Showcase and band were also a thrill for me," he wrote. "The greatness of the teachers and how they really cared for us students I have tried to copy whenever I train people." Madsen now lives in Colorado Springs, CO, and owns a broadcast computer consulting business.

China Southern Airlines recently promoted Jeff Ruffolo ('78) to the newly created position of Senior Advisor-International Public Relations. Ruffolo, who had been PR manager in the airline's Los Angeles office for the past five years, is a 25-year veteran of international public relations and previously worked as an on-the-air broadcaster for the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.

A scene from the 1988 BYU-Hawaii production of Taming of the Shrew.


Tim Green ('80) is an engineer with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth, Texas.

Poasi Falevai ('81, Accounting) now lives in Mesa, Arizona.

Doug ('84, Hotel and Restaurant Management) and Laite Miller('89, Travel Industry Management) were also at the Utah reunion. Doug, who earned his MBA at Chaminade U. in Honolulu and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah after leaving Laie, now chairs the business management department at Utah Valley State College, and Laite is a homemaker. The couple and their six children live in Spanish Fork.

Matt Elking ('86, Social Work) and his wife, Hermie, who used to work in the BYU-Hawaii bakery, drove up to the Utah reunion from Las Vegas. Matt, who attended BYUH after serving 20 years in the Navy, said, "I've always kept close with some of my friends there. I still remember the sense of 'ohana. It's something that never leaves you. It brings every nationality closer together."

Lance TeNgaio ('86) has been working as software engineer and recently graduated from BYU with an electrical engineering degree. He and his wife, Allyce Auna TeNgaio ('86, Early Childhood Education) have four children, three of them adopted, with plans to adopt another. They live in Pleasant Grove.


Winnie Ngatuvai McClain ('91, Political Science) recently wrote to ask if there's an alumni chapter in Georgia (not yet). "A few of us Laie people got together in March to grind and I realized we were all alumni of BYU-Hawaii" — including Heidi Hammond ('01, Exercise Science), Shari Hammond Thomas ('95), Sesika Pulotu Johnson ('93), Jared('96) and Minerva Bernal Uyehara ('98) and Lito Soifua ('02, Physical Education) and his wife, Leilani.

Lai Na Daisy Kwan ('92, Home and Family Development) is the director of a seed company in Hong Kong.

Lincoln Uhi ('92, Business Management) and his wife, Michelle Clawson ('93) also live in Utah with their five children; but they came back to Laie last year for a visit.

Also at the Utah reunion: Merri Hamilton Sharma ('92, Office Management), who teaches at West High in Salt Lake City. She and her husband, Amitabh 'Ray' Sharma('92, Information Systems) who works for a health insurance company, and their two children live in Woods Cross. "I really loved how friendly the people at BYU-Hawaii were. Without my education, I couldn't have gotten my teaching position."

Alyssa Bentley Boone ('92), who is a homemaker with three children living in Stansbury Park, Utah, particularly remembers the hours of practicing as a bass guitarist with a band known as "Radical Liz" during her year at BYU-Hawaii. She said the band "played all over campus. I'll always remember the rehearsals and performances that built friendships and great memories."

Clarence Naeata ('95, Accounting) accomplished one of his dreams when he recently got hired as a commercial pilot. He and his wife, Sui Alaiasa Naeata ('00, Social Work) now live in Farmington, New Mexico, where she works for a Christian hospice. Clarence is the son of Mosese ('70, Physical Education) and Akanesi Hikila Naeata ('72, Business Education). His father works for the PBO in Tonga, and his mother is principal of all LDS middle schools there. "I always wanted to be a pilot," Clarence said, noting that BYU-Hawaii prepared him well. "My bosses were very impressed with my education. They said I had done more than people with a master's."

Judith Piedra ('95, English Education) teaches English in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

We received an update from Yutaka Kamegawa ('97, International Business) and his wife, Katia (attended '95), who moved from Japan to France last year where he's an international sales executive for an import-export company dealing in fashion and sports wear.

Barbara Hong Foster ('97, Special Education) recently earned her Ph.D. in special education from Columbia. She lives in Bellport, New York, and works as a professor of special education at Dowling College.

Paea Veikoso ('99, Information Systems) and his wife, Tania Lavelua Sopu ('99), live in Salt Lake City, UT, where he's a network administrator for a bank.

Jamie Dearman ('99, Special Education) now lives in Lodi, California, where she is a teacher resource specialist.


2000 Social Work graduate Tiffany Lord now lives in Salt Lake City where she teaches visually impaired students.

Eddie Tsing ('01, Political Science) is studying for a master's degree in international politics at the Monterrey Institute of International Studies, with an emphasis on human rights in East Asia.

Hartanto Hartanto ('02, Information Systems), who is originally from Indonesia, is now an electronics technician in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Prasan De Silva ('02, Hospitality and Tourism) and Camise Janan Burr ('02, Elementary Education) "just wanted to spread our joy to BYU-Hawaii friends and family" by letting us know they got married April 19th. They live in Las Vegas where Prasan is an assistant restaurant manager and Janan teaches 5th grade in North Las Vegas.


Editor's Note2:

The Utah chapter reunion in the Assembly Hall on March 22 provided a wonderful outpouring of aloha spirit to the 800-plus alumni, supporters and friends who were privileged to be there. It was a beautiful event in a special setting; but as I sat there, it also occured to me that CCH/BYU-Hawaii alumni often share special bonds of aloha and understanding — wherever we meet, regardless of how large or small the group. We have been and are the benefactors of a prophetic legacy, and I encourage you to do more with the great blessings we have received. Welina ke aloha,

— Mike Foley ('70, TESL)
Editor and Alumni Association President