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W. M. Keck Observatory and ‘Imiloa help local schools

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Posted: Aug 4, 2009

HILO - UH Hilo‘s ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi has received a generous donation of $10,000 from the W. M. Keck Observatory. The donation will support visits to the ʻImiloa Center by K-12 schoolchildren and their teachers, as part of an ambitious two-year program through which ʻImiloa is arranging programs for all public, charter and private schools on the Big Island.

The W. M. Keck Observatory's donation will be matched with another $20,000 effectively tripling the value of the gift--under the terms of a 2008 grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The Moore Foundation grant is assisting the Center with its goal of reaching 100% of the island‘s school-aged children, by bringing them to ʻImiloa to experience its exhibits, planetarium and educational programs. Transportation to the Center, admission, and lunch are all provided thanks to the grant, making the field trip possible for students throughout the island. For every $1 of additional support which ʻImiloa secures for the program, the Moore Foundation grant is providing $2.

The ʻImiloa Astronomy Center has a special mission to engage youth in Hawaiʻi, involving them in hands-on exploration of astronomy, together with Hawaiian language, navigational skills and indigenous culture. The resulting sense of pride and the interest in science and engineering that ʻImiloa is instilling are critical tools for preparing local young people to participate in Hawaiʻi‘s 21st century economy. In pursuit of this mission, ʻImiloa has set an aggressive goal of reaching all of Hawaiʻi Island‘s 30,000 K-12 schoolchildren through its educational programs over the next two years.

ʻImiloa Associate Director Kaʻiu Kimura commented, "Support from the W. M. Keck Observatory is helping ʻImiloa ensure that local children grow up understanding that successful participation in science and technology can coexist and support the values of their unique Hawaiian heritage. ʻImiloa appreciates the support and contributions of the observatories in helping us to achieve our mission and our reach to Hawaiʻi Island schoolchildren."K

eck Observatory Director Taft Armandroff said on behalf of the Waimea headquartered organization, "ʻImiloa Astronomy Center is a resource that engages people of all ages in astronomy and Hawaiian culture. We are proud to be a part of the Moore Foundation‘s initiative to help educate the next generation of cosmic explorers and innovators."


The mission of UH Hilo‘s ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi is to celebrate Hawaiian culture and Maunakea astronomy, sharing with the world an inspiring example of science and culture united to advance knowledge, understanding and opportunity. Please visit

The W. M. Keck Observatory operates two 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea as a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, University of California and NASA. The vision of Keck Observatory is a world in which all humankind is inspired and united by the pursuit of knowledge of the infinite variety and richness of the Universe.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is a comprehensive university with five degree-granting colleges, six master‘s programs and two doctoral programs. UH Hilo strives to integrate culture and science, offer hands-on learning opportunities to its students and use the Island of Hawaiʻi as a natural learning laboratory. Enrollment has doubled since 1980 to more than 3,700 students coming from all fifty states and more than 40 countries. Please visit

The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaiʻi System. Our mission is to unite our donors‘ passions with the University of Hawaiʻi's aspirations to benefit the people of Hawaiʻi and beyond. We do this by raising private philanthropic support, managing private investments and nurturing donor and alumni relationships. Please visit