UH Alumni Profiles
Nursing couple wins dream wedding
Primrose Valdez and Sunghoon Alex Cho
Leeward and Mānoa
A funny thing happened on the way to their future for 2007 University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa nursing graduates Primrose Valdez and Sunghoon Alex Cho.
Valdez’s essay for the Parasol Events Wedding Giveaway presented by the Honolulu Advertiser won the grand prize—a $35,000+ wedding at the tony Kahala Resort with 80 guests.
Everything about the March 31, 2008 nuptials was picture perfect, right down to the sunset behind the gazebo just beyond the dolphin pond. The bride’s train was about as long as she is tall. The gold-dusted layers of the wedding cake bore images of cherry blossoms so real guests were tempted to smell them.
Befitting a couple who met at Leeward Community College (Cho invented a math study session to get Valdez’s number), the newlyweds were soon back at the books, studing for their board exams in May.
Rainbow Warrior returns to Athletics
Jim Donovan was appointed athletic director for the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in March 2008, replacing Herman Frazier.
The former UH student-athlete, baseball stadium manager and assistant athletic director most recently served as executive director of the Sheraton Hawaiʻi Bowl.
Donovan played offensive guard on the UH football team 1981–82 and earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA from Mānoa. He is active in the UH Alumni Association—in his second term on the UHAA Board of Directors and past chair of communication and membership committees.
Alum finds a home in Hawaiʻi and a career in philanthropy
Onetime electrical engineering major Sarah Tenney ventured to Hawaiʻi 16 years ago with an interest in Asian studies and Japanese language stemming from a US Senate–National Japanese Diet student exchange and her knowledge of Wyoming’s Heart Mountain Japanese internment camp.
She fell in love with Hawaiʻi’s culture and food, including the Spam bentos served at an Andrews Amphitheatre Kanikapila concert and the campus computer room where she met future husband Daniel Tenney. She stayed, earning a BA in Asian studies in 1994 and an MBA in 2003.
Last summer, Tenney became vice president of development for the USS Missouri Memorial Association. The "Mighty Mo" was the last battleship built by the United States. It saw the official Japanese surrender ending World War II and served in the Korean conflict and 1991 Gulf War.
Three veteran friends convinced the Navy to appoint UMMA as the Missouri’s caretaker. Tenney’s task is to generate private and public contributions in support of the Hawaiʻi nonprofit association’s mission of maintaining a fitting memorial reflecting duty, honor, strength, sacrifice and resolve. Her motivation is the phenomenal staff.
Tenney brings a wealth of experience to the job, including head of philanthropy services for a private wealth management bank in Hong Kong. She is 1 of 16 internationally recognized Certified Fund Raising Executives in Hawaiʻi and an expert in integrating nonprofit and for-profit business models. She founded TenneyTech Corp., a nonprofit fundraising software and service firm that assisted a number of Hawaiʻi educational and cultural organizations, contributed to the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation’s online scholarship system, created the first online donation tool for Kapiʻolani Health Foundation and engineered scoring and nomination tools for the International e-Philanthropy Foundation.
"Business has many specializations and finding a valued niche helps build a reputation and a network," she says. Tenney is an adjunct professor in Chaminade University’s nonprofit MBA program and involved in Kapiʻolani Community College’s nonprofit certification program. She was a contributing author for Major Donors: Finding Big Gifts in Your Database and Online.
"I am so appreciative of the professors and university staff who shared their time and knowledge with me because it is key to my confidence and ability to help the community now," she reflects.
In her personal time, Tenney serves as president of the Rotary Club of Waikīkī, is a lifetime member of the Navy League and Association of Fundraising Professionals and oversees service projects. Striving to maintain life balance, she sews projects for herself and friends and dances hula in Mānoa when she can find time.
She invites emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.