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Close to 300 scholarship donors and their student recipients came together on April 22 to meet and connect at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Scholarship Celebration, which returned to the Stan Sheriff Center. The annual event presents an opportunity for students to personally express their gratitude to the people invested in their college education. It also gives donors the chance to hear firsthand about the impact their giving has on the students’ education, lives and futures.

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From left, scholarship recipients Anuhea Sridharan and Tiare Sabellano-Tsutsui

Tiare Sabellano-Tsutsui, a UH Mānoa graduate student in social work and recipient of the Diane Roehm Social Work Scholarship, was a featured speaker. The Mānana, Oʻahu native juggled three jobs before embarking on a journey to higher education, and expressed heartfelt gratitude.

Hawaiʻi is expensive! So I never dreamt about going to college because I thought it was too expensive to afford. So I am just so so grateful that I have the opportunity now from our generous donors in the community,” Sabellano-Tsutsui said.

Crowds also heard from UH alumnus Walter Dods, Jr., the chairman of FOR UH • FOR HAWAIʻI, UH Foundation’s historic $1 billion comprehensive campaign. The Hawaiʻi philanthropist became visibly moved as he emphasized the profound impact scholarships have on students.

Related: UH Foundation launches historic $1 billion campaign: FOR UH • FOR HAWAIʻI, November 2023

Last year, the UH Foundation distributed $17 million in student aid to 4,894 students statewide, including $11.3 million to 2,524 students at UH Mānoa. Today, the foundation manages more than 2,200 student aid accounts.

“It has been a powerful year for giving back, and we’re grateful we’re able to bring students and their donors together to celebrate the generosity that makes their academic journeys possible,” said Tim Dolan, vice president of advancement and chief executive officer of UH Foundation. “Every gift, each scholarship, makes a very real impact on the lives of students and their families.”

The first permanently endowed scholarship was created at the UH Foundation in 1976 to benefit students attending UH. Since then, providing access to higher education through private gifts has become a tradition.

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