Skip to content
Reading time: 3 minutes
robbie char and don char showing shaka
Robert “Robbie” Char and his grandfather, Donald “Don” Char

As Robert “Robbie” Char from Niu Valley, Oʻahu nears the finish line in his college career as an undergraduate, he feels grateful for the opportunities, experiences and invaluable knowledge he gained as a student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

“My time at UH Mānoa was an eye-opening experience,” said Char. “There were so many courses and professors that expanded my thinking. I feel blessed to know I was able to receive an education with global perspectives to help me grow.”

Char will be graduating on Saturday, December 16 at 9 a.m. with hundreds of participants at UH Mānoa’s fall 2023 commencement at the Stan Sheriff Center. He will earn a bachelor of business administration in entrepreneurship and international business, and plans to become a business owner, while furthering the message and practice of the Aloha Spirit. Char says he is ready for the next chapter of his life thanks to UH Mānoa.

“So much goes into educating our next generation of leaders, and I’m thankful for the important figures in my college experience who helped me get the most out of my education,” Char added. “My advisor, Clare Fujioka, would make sure I knew how to use the tools and resources that would help me succeed; and my professors, such as Dr. Stacy White and William Donahue, changed my life and inspired me to become an entrepreneur—they made me feel grateful to be a student in the Shidler College of Business.”

I’ve learned that college is the easy part—everything in relation to the college experience that seemed stressful at the time was all part of the preparation for what is to come next.
—Robbie Char

Spreading the Aloha Spirit

Before attending UH Mānoa, Char spent a year at Northern Arizona University; while he was away, however, he realized he was homesick and missing the Aloha Spirit.

“There was no community aspect while I was in the continental U.S., and it was the strangest thing to experience after coming from a place where community is everything,” explained Char. “But I don’t regret going to Arizona—I needed to leave Hawaiʻi to be even more grateful for what I have here at home.”

His gratitude soon turned into a strong desire to spread aloha beyond Hawaiʻi shores, and his passion to be a communicator and share Hawaiʻi-based values with others was bolstered by his education at UH Mānoa.

Hawaiʻi is so good about loving each other, loving the land, loving themselves, and the UH community has been such a great representation of that,” Char said. “As a business student, I was shown the truths of the world, and it urged me to want to take care of everyone. Because of this, in conjunction with the Aloha Spirit being so prevalent in my life, I feel deeply in my heart that I need to share that message and practice with others. I’m determined to inspire others to also take care of those who need help too.”

Inspired, influenced by family

Once he began his college career at UH Mānoa, Char joined the multitude of his family members who have attended or are connected to UH. Most notable is his grandfather, Donald “Don” Char, who served as the director of the Health Services and professor of pediatrics in the John A. Burns School of Medicine for 33 years from July 1965 to July 1998.

“Knowing that my grandfather, my aunties and uncles, even my mother have had a major impact on our community, it motivates me to be just like these influential people in my life and do the same,” Char said. “If I ignore my calling, I’m doing a disservice to my grandfather, my mother, my education—I’m doing a disservice to those who strived to give me the opportunities that are presented to me today.”

After graduation, Char will be putting educational pursuits on pause as he works toward becoming a business owner and sharing his business ideas with like-minded individuals who can help turn his plans into reality.

“I’ve learned that college is the easy part—everything in relation to the college experience that seemed stressful at the time was all part of the preparation for what is to come next,” said Char. “If I come back to higher education to obtain my master’s degree, I will be coming back to UH.”

robbie smiling at don
Robbie considers Don to be one of his inspirations and best friends.
Back To Top