Couple endows UH-Hilo fund
Architect Russell Shigeyasu Oda and his wife, Aki, endowed a scholarship fund at the University of Hawaii at Hilo to honor his grandmother Keru, the UH Foundation announced.
The scholarship will benefit students in need of financial aid.
According to the foundation, Keru Oda and her husband, Chujiro, immigrated to the Big Island and worked in the sugar cane fields in Paukaa on the Hamakua Coast above Hilo.
They raised eight children. Keru Oda also raised her grandson Russell until he was 16. Russell Oda, in turn, taught his grandmother, who never had a formal education, how to read and write Japanese.
"We are honored that Russell and Aki have chosen to establish this fund in memory of Mr. Oda's grandmother," said UH-Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng in a written news release. "Keru Oda faced incredible hardships, but she knew a good education would benefit future generations of her family. Now, her family is able to assist others who need assistance."
The amount of the donation was not released at the request of the family. However, named scholarship funds require at least a $25,000 donation.
The first scholarships are expected to be awarded next fall. Students will be able to apply at UH-Hilo's financial aid Web page, www.uhh.hawaii.edu/financialaid.