UH school might take name from Thompson
A proposal to name the School of Social Work at the University of Hawaii at Manoa after alumnus and former Bishop Estate trustee Myron "Pinky" Thompson appears to have widespread support.
"He really is an icon in modern Hawaiian history," said Dean Jon Matsuoka. "It allows us to name our school after someone who best represents our direction and what we aspire to become."
The state Legislature passed a resolution this year requesting that UH-Manoa change the name of the school to honor Thompson.
Among those submitting testimony supporting the change were U.S. Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye.
"Pinky was a visionary; he helped create a legacy that continues to live on today," the senators wrote.
The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs and the Hawaii Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers also supported the resolution.
Thompson's family thinks the name change "is a fine idea," said his widow, Laura. "I think it's really appropriate."
A public hearing at 2 p.m. Tuesday at UH-Manoa Campus Center Room 307 is the next step in the process to change the name of the school. The proposal will then go to UH-Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw, who will decide whether to recommend it to UH President David McClain and the Board of Regents.
Thompson received his master's degree from UH-Manoa in 1953 and served as executive director of the Queen Liliuokalani Trust, state administrator under Gov. John Burns, chairman of the state Land Use Commission and director of the state Department of Social Services, where he created a statewide health care system for native Hawaiians.
He also co-founded Alu Like, a nonprofit social service agency dedicated to helping native Hawaiians achieve social and economic self-sufficiency, and founded Papa Ola Lokahi, a clearinghouse for information on native Hawaiian health.
He was also the first president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.
Thompson became a Bishop Estate trustee in 1974 and retired in 1994. As a trustee, he was instrumental in developing early education programs and improving Kamehameha Schools outreach programs with the Department of Education and the community.
Thompson died in 2001 at the age of 77.