$1.7M to fund medical scholarships
The John A. Burns Foundation gave $1.7 million to the University of Hawaii medical school to establish a scholarship fund for first-year medical students, the UH Foundation announced.
The scholarships will go to top-ranked candidates admitted to the John A. Burns School of Medicine.
The donation comes after the death in February of former state Rep. Robert Oshiro, who started the John A. Burns Foundation and served as its president.
Oshiro was a top campaign strategist for former Gov. Burns.
"The John A. Burns Foundation was formed to carry out the dreams and aspirations embodied in the 'Burns Philosophy,'" Shirley Kimoto of the foundation said in a news release. "This gift to the John A. Burns School of Medicine carries out Mr. Oshiro's final wishes for the foundation as well as the medical school."
Oshiro's wife, Ruth, said, "Governor Burns and my husband always envisioned education as the great equalizer, the way to improve yourself in so many ways. They dreamed of a medical school and law school for Hawaii when none existed."
Margo Schrire, a spokeswoman for the UH Foundation, said the foundation had been giving money directly to the medical school for scholarships for the last three years and established the endowment after seeing the impact of those scholarships.
The first scholarships from the endowment will be given out next fall. Schrire said the endowment should generate about $70,000 to $80,000 a year, enough for three to four scholarships annually.
"It is very meaningful for us to have this support," said Jerris Hedges, dean of the medical school. "Students with strong grades and strong scores are being actively recruited by schools on the mainland. The opportunity to offer them scholarship support and show a commitment from our school gives us a much greater chance of retaining them here in our student body."