Wayne Tanna: Professor and public service attorney

March 4th, 2009  |  by  |  Published in People  |  2 Comments

Wayne Tanna

Wayne Tanna, AA, AS ’83 Kapiʻolani; BA ’85 West Oʻahu

Roots: Chicago
Family: Wife Corinne (BBA ’78, MBA ’86 Mānoa), daughter Jenna, 8
Heroes: Dad and Mom
Ten-year plan: “I do not think that far in advance. I am not sure anyone should as it often takes away from the wonder and the challenge that is life today in the here and now.”

For Wayne Tanna, living life in the now is what’s important. After undergoing surgery for cancer in 2007, he continues to make a difference in the community in many ways.

He inspires students as professor at Chaminade University of Honolulu. He serves on a number of national and state advisory committees and taskforces on matters involving civil rights, taxation and financial literacy. And he is a dedicated volunteer for Special Olympics.

Not bad for someone whose college career got off to a rocky start. “I got a great education at UH. Part of that education was flunking out of the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa, starting over at Kapiʻolani Community College and then getting a four-year degree at West Oʻahu College” (now UH–West Oʻahu),” he says.

“I had the opportunity to experience many facets of the UH System—large research institution with huge classes in the old Varsity Theater, small open admission classes with a great diversity of students at a community college and an unknown college option in Leeward Oʻahu with a non-traditional student population. All this helped me go on to earn two law degrees (from Lewis and Clark College and University of the Pacific) and to put my overall education to practical use.”

Tanna’s private practice work in non-profit, tax and civil rights law—all pro bono—has earned him numerous awards for assisting those who couldn’t otherwise afford legal help.

He and his Chaminade students do ongoing service learning projects, holding homeless center community tax clinics and financial literacy workshops; helping nonprofit organizations create business, financial and marketing plans; and helping elder immigrants prepare for the naturalization test.

His efforts earned him recognition from Campus Compact’s 2008 Thomas Ehrlich faculty award for service learning and the Hawaiʻi Commission for National and Community Service.

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  1. MJ Haverly says:

    March 12th, 2009at 8:56 am(#)

    This is a great article, acknowledging a truly wonderful and selfless person.
    Too bad it only begins to touch on all that Wayne Tanna has accomplished.

  2. Noel says:

    March 12th, 2009at 12:52 pm(#)

    Great accomplishment. Good heart, giving back to society and community. Service before self. Good job Cuz.