University of Hawaiʻi President David Lassner issued the following statement on July 20 on the passing of U.S. Representative K. Mark Takai
The University of Hawaiʻi lost an extraordinary member of our ʻohana today. Everyone associated with UH will always remember Representative K. Mark Takai as not only a dedicated public servant and family man, but also as a proud and highly engaged UH Mānoa graduate.
Mark was a championship swimmer for UH Mānoa, ASUH student government president and editor-in-chief of the Ka Leo student newspaper. Everyone who knew him on the Mānoa campus knew he was destined for great things. And, as he advanced in his career, Mark continued to be a passionate supporter of higher education and the University of Hawaiʻi.
After graduating from UH Mānoa and before his election to Congress, Mark committed to serving our nation and our state in the UH Army National Guard and in the State House, where he served for 20 years. As the chair of the Committee on Higher Education, he worked especially closely with UH leadership to advance the university.
Representative Takai was a role model for many, and all of us will miss him personally and professionally.
Our hearts go out to his parents Erik and Naomi, his wife Sami, also a member of our UH ʻohana, his children Kaila and Matthew and the rest of his family and friends. We thank them all for sharing him with us and we grieve together, knowing that we are all better for having known and worked with Representative K. Mark Takai.
Statement from University of Hawaiʻi Athletics Director David Matlin
Our dear friend Mark Takai was a beloved member of the University of Hawaiʻi Athletics ʻohana and proud UH Mānoa alumnus. His association with UH Athletics spanned four decades beginning as a four-year letterman for our swim team from 1985–89 where he was a Western Athletic Conference champion as part of the 4×100 medley relay. Throughout his life, Mark was one of our biggest supporters through his involvement with Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi, Athletics Advisory Board, Letterwinners Club and as an elected official, where he tirelessly worked for the betterment of our student-athletes and sports programs.
In 2012, the Letterwinners Club recognized Mark with the Kāne Fernandez Award for his unselfish support of UH Athletics in the community. On behalf of the UH Athletics Department, our thoughts and prayers are with Mark’s family and friends. This is a tremendous loss to not only the UH Athletics Department but our entire state. Mark will forever be a Rainbow Warrior.