CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation donated $5 million to repair Freitas Hall at Chaminade University. Presenting a check to Chaminade President Sue Wesselkamper, right, yesterday was foundation Executive Director R. Stevens Gilley, left, and foundation trustees Peter Ng, Kenneth Okamoto, Jack Tsui, Raymond Tam and Catherine Ching.
Donation saves Chaminade hall
A section of the roof of Chaminade University's historic Freitas Hall caved in recently due to extensive termite infestation and water damage.
Thanks to a $5 million matching grant, the university's original 1920s centerpiece will be repaired and renovations made to the offices of admission, business, financial aid, records and personnel.
The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation awarded the grant at a ceremony yesterday for the hall, renamed after Ching. It is the third gift from the foundation and one of the largest the Kaimuki university has received, according to university President Sue Wesselkamper.
"It is a much-needed gift. To say we're very thrilled is understated," she said.
Foundation Vice Chairman Raymond Tam said Ching, the son of an immigrant from China, was the first of six brothers to be chosen by Marianist priests to attend what was then known as Saint Louis College (a high school now called Saint Louis School). He graduated in 1932 and was later given an honorary degree from Chaminade, which was built next door.
The Marianist education "molded Clarence T.C. Ching into what he was," Tam said. Throughout his career as a major developer and financier, Ching incorporated the ideals of being "mindful of others, and faithful to Christian values," he added.
An example of the "Marianist tradition of helping others" was the development of Kukui Gardens in Liliha for low- to moderate-income residents, according to Tam, who is Ching's nephew. Ching always intended to use the proceeds of its sale in 2007 as a source of funding for educational, health and public charitable organizations, as the foundation is now doing, he added.
Never forgetting his humble roots, Ching formed the foundation in 1967 to help the needy and destitute, and the sick and aged, a release said. Ching died in 1985.
The rebuilt Ching Hall will contain the existing Vi and Paul Loo Student Center and Theater; the Marianist Center of Hawaii; and the new (Henry) Freitas Administrative Center, in honor of the former namesake and developer of the hall.