Dorvin and Betty Leis donate $1 Million to Maui Community College

Gift is largest in Maui campus' history

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Nov 16, 2006

HONOLULU — The University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents (BOR) voted today to accept the largest gift ever to Maui Community College (MCC) — a $1 million commitment from husband and wife Dorvin and Betty Leis to advance sustainability initiatives at the campus. To recognize their generosity, the BOR approved renaming the school‘s fine dining facility as The Leis Family Class Act Restaurant.

"We are very pleased to support MCC and its leadership role in sustainability," said Dorvin Leis. "Higher education is one of our most powerful resources in creating a sustainable future and ensuring long-term prosperity in Maui County and the state of Hawaiʻi."

The Leis‘ gift will establish an endowment known as the Dorvin and Betty Leis Sustainability Fund that will benefit academic and programmatic efforts that carry forward all aspects of sustainability at MCC, including environmental, economic, programmatic and academic purposes. Initially it will assist sustainability efforts in the culinary arts, construction technologies and agriculture programs, as well as explore developing courses in renewable fuels and energy conservation.

The endowment will be managed by the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, which is the university‘s private, nonprofit fundraising partner.

MCC Chancellor Clyde Sakamoto said, "Mahalo nui loa to Dorvin and Betty for their record-breaking generosity. I applaud their giving and their commitment to bring a better future to Hawaiʻi."

Their gift is part of the Foundation‘s Centennial Campaign, which aids the students, faculty, facilities and programs of the University of Hawaiʻi. With a $250 million goal, it is the most ambitious fundraising campaign in Hawaiʻi history.

UH President David McClain noted, "The Centennial Campaign is producing benefits for UH as our community recognizes and supports our achievements. Dorvin and Betty Leis‘ generous support of MCC‘s efforts in sustainability spotlight the talent and innovation that is thriving across the UH system‘s 10 campuses."

The Leis are well-known philanthropists on Maui and in 2003 were honored with the Outstanding Philanthropist award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Aloha Chapter. Dorvin Leis is the founder and chairman of Dorvin D. Leis Co., Inc., the largest mechanical contractor in the state of Hawaiʻi. He serves on many nonprofit boards, including MCC‘s Provost Council and is a trustee of the UH Foundation.

UH Foundation President Donna Vuchinich noted, "This gift is a natural extension of the Leis‘ goodwill for Maui County, the University of Hawaiʻi and the state of Hawaiʻi. I thank them for their donation as well as their lifetime of dedication to improving our communities."

With its main 78-acre campus located in Kahului and education centers located in Hana, Kīhei, Lahaina, and on the islands of Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi, Maui Community College (MCC) is the only community college in the UH system that specifically serves the population of more than one island. With an average enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, the college offers comprehensive opportunities and special programs, including a bachelor‘s degree in applied business and information technology—the first four-year degree to be offered by a UH community college. Because it is a tri-island college community, MCC has pioneered and developed expertise in distance education and technology, providing a model for the entire University of Hawaiʻi system. For more information, visit

The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation is an independent, university-related, nonprofit organization whose purpose is to raise private funds according to priorities determined by the academic leadership of the University of Hawaiʻi and approved by the Board of Regents. Founded in 1955, the Foundation provides a full range of fund raising and alumni relations services for all 10 UH campuses. For more information on the Foundation, visit