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six people standing on the stage smiling at the camera
From left, Kristi Bates, Shidler executive director of development; Mark Yoda, FICOH president and CEO; Wendy Peterson, Shidler alumna and general counsel at Knobbe Martens; Shidler Dean Vance Roley; Natalie Kwon, Shidler senior and executive director of the student committee; Cheryl Oncea, Hawaii Business Magazine publisher

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Shidler College of Business marked the in-person return of Business Night, its signature student event, on May 5, at the Sheraton Waikīkī after hosting it virtually for the past two years. The annual event, now in its 61st year, has connected Shidler students with Hawaiʻi’s leading business professionals over the past six decades, while honoring the college’s top students for their accomplishments.

This year’s function welcomed more than 200 professional mentors and nearly 250 students for a fun evening of networking and business building. Through the generous support of Hawaiʻi’s business community, 49 awards were presented to the college’s shining undergraduate and graduate students, totaling nearly $90,000.

person on a stage looking into audience in a large room
Shidler’s Business Night was held in person on May 5 at the Sheraton Waikīkī.

This year’s keynote speaker featured Shidler alumna Wendy Peterson, BBA ’82, JD ’85, general counsel at Knobbe Martens, who shared her own experiences as a student as well as her vibrant career journey. First Insurance Company of Hawaii (FICOH) served as title sponsor for the 17th consecutive year and Hawaii Business Magazine returned as the media sponsor for its sixth year.

“After nearly three years of change, learning and building relationships across distances of 6 feet to 6,000 miles, this year’s theme of ‘Exploring First Horizons’ is something we can all easily relate to,” said Shidler College senior Natalie Kwon, who served as executive director of the student committee and received the Outstanding Senior in Marketing award. “As the first in-person Business Night since 2020, it was a great honor to share my vision of an evening that represents celebration and inspiration.”

seven people on a stage smiling at the camera
Shidler Business Night student committee

“For many of our students, this is the first large-scale professional event they have been to since the pandemic began,” Shidler College Dean Vance Roley said. “Our students were eager to get out for an evening of career development and mentorship, and we are thankful for the community’s support of this event. We are especially grateful for First Insurance Company of Hawaii, serving as our title sponsor nearly two decades and to Hawaii Business Magazine for their continued support.”

“We are proud to once again serve as title sponsor of Business Night,” FICOH President and CEO Mark Yoda said. “Each year, we look forward to the opportunity to recognize and meet Shidler College’s best and brightest. The in-person interaction and mentorship piece make this an enjoyable and meaningful event for all involved.”

For a complete list of Business Night award recipients and sponsors, visit Shidler’s website. To learn more about sponsoring an award, contact Kristi Bates, executive director of development at or call (808) 956-3597.

This event is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

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