The Pavel’s $10M gift invests in premier UH expertise in ocean, earth and sky

When Victor and Margaret (Peggy) designated the University of Hawai‘i Foundation as the primary beneficiary of their estate, they wanted to keep their identity private and preferred no personal publicity for what would turn out to be the largest estate gift to UH in UH history. Fortunately, they gave us permission to posthumously acknowledge them, and let Hawai‘i know who provided the transformative $10 million estate gift that will support UH programs and students statewide.  In addition to who, the Pavel’s more importantly wanted to share with Hawai‘i “why.”  The Pavel’s believed deeply in the value of science education and nature preservation. They felt that UH, with its internationally recognized expertise in these areas, was an excellent investment.

Today, thanks to the Board of Regents approving the naming of two new funds, the Pavel’s love for science and nature will live on in perpetuity through the professors, researchers, and students who benefit from their vision and philanthropy.

“The Pavels’ extraordinary philanthropy showcases the lasting impact endowed support for our top performing programs can make,” said UH Mānoa Chancellor Tom Apple. He continued, “These endowed chairs will empower us to build on our strengths by recruiting and retaining the best faculty and administrators.”

New Named Funds:

David Karl
David Karl, Professor of Oceanography and Director of the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education

The Victor and Peggy Brandstrom Pavel Endowed Chair in Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at UH Mānoa has been established with a $2,080,000 gift. In naming David Karl as the first recipient of this Chair, Dean Brian Taylor noted “David’s stellar 35-year career at UH has been recognized by many awards, including membership in the National Academy of Sciences. This gift provides the means to perpetuate that excellence through his mentoring of the next generation of scholars.”

Professor of Oceanography and Director of the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education David Karl added, “This gift will be used to do pioneering research on the micro-organisms that dominate the biomass of the ocean, provide food for most of the food web, harvest solar energy, degrade pollutants, and maintain half the oxygen that we breathe. Our future is tied to the health of the ocean.”

The Victor and Peggy Brandstrom Pavel Director’s Chair in Astronomy at the Institute for Astronomy (IfA) at UH Mānoa has been established with a $2,080,000 gift. These funds will give the IfA director flexibility to enhance the IfA’s programs, and advance the education and research missions of IfA. Funds will be used to recruit and retain talented faculty, support quality research and provide seed research funding, particularly among promising junior faculty.

Guenther Hasinger
Günther Hasinger, Astronomer and Director of the Institute for Astronomy

Günther Hasinger, astronomer and IfA director said, “With an endowed chair we will be able to bring some of the best faculty members and graduate students here because it gives flexibility that otherwise is not possible.” Hasinger continued, “IfA contributes to our very understanding of the universe. It also excites young people and inspires them to think about careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.”

The Pavel’s estate gift will also significantly:

  • Fund scholarships for underrepresented students on 10 campuses
  • Help people live better for longer
  • Save Hawai‘i’s endangered plants;
  • Help build an advanced culinary training facility in Hawai‘i

Through endowed and expendable accounts, the Pavel’s impact will be immeasurable for many years to come.

UH Foundation president and CEO Donna Vuchinich concluded, “The Pavels were deeply committed to learning about, and preserving our oceans, earth and sky. It was our privilege to work with Victor over the last decade to ensure that their assets help build and sustain the University of Hawai‘i’s excellence in these areas.”

Source:  A University of Hawaii Foundation news release.  Read about Victor and Peggy Brandstrom Pavel’s life and learn about what motivated them to make this phenomenal gift at