University of Hawaii System newsletter

Hilo Gets $1 Million for Reentry Scholarships

Posted on | August 26, 2011 | Comments Off on Hilo Gets $1 Million for Reentry Scholarships

Hilo received a $1 million award from The Bernard Osher Foundation to support returning adult students. Beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year the Osher Reentry Scholarship Endowment will provide a minimum of 25 scholarships per year to older students whose education has been interrupted for five or more years.

To date The Bernard Osher Foundation has given $3,550,000 to support reentry students at Mānoa, UH Hilo and UH West Oʻahu.

The Osher Foundation has annually supported scholarships for reentry students at Hilo since 2007. “The Osher Reentry Scholarship Program is one of the most important initiatives of the foundation,” says Osher Foundation President Mary Bitterman. “We are delighted to award an endowment grant to UH Hilo to assist nontraditional students in completing their degrees and realizing their dreams.”

Students resuming their academic careers after a long absence face a number of challenges that most traditional students do not, such as managing simultaneously the responsibilities of being a student, parent, spouse and employee.

“Access to higher education, outreach and support for non-traditional and underserved populations are part of UH Hilo’s mission,” says UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney. “This major award from The Osher Foundation means we can better support older, returning students who might otherwise not be able to pursue a college degree.”

Read the news release.

Shirley Dellinger headshot

Shirley Dellinger

Osher scholarships recipient Shirley Dellinger

“After graduating from high school, I decided to seek employment. College was not an option at that time due to financial hardships,” says Dellinger. “It wasn’t until later, after marrying and having children that I was advised by a guidance counselor to enroll in college.”

After attending Leeward, Dellinger transferred to Hilo to pursue her dream of obtaining a BBA but was forced to stop her studies when her marriage of 17 years ended in divorce.

In 2000 Dellinger joined Hospice of Hilo as its bookkeeper. The local nonprofit saw her potential and encouraged her to return to school. “With a strong faith in God, my new husband’s support, six children in tow, and rekindled determination, I returned to UH Hilo in 2007 on a part-time basis, later increasing my schedule to full-time, while also working 40 hours a week to support my family,” says Dellinger.

“When I was notified that I had been awarded an Osher Reentry Scholarship, tears of joy filled my eyes. Knowing that there was someone who believed in me enough to support my education was a very humbling experience. I was determined to cross the finish line.”

In May 2011 Dellinger graduated with honors and a BBA, the first in her family to attain a college education.

Read more about Dellinger.