Kitty Lagareta, Harold K.L. Castle Foundation team up to support Windward Community College

University of Hawaiʻi
Martha Hanson, (808) 956-3716
Associate Vice President for Communication and Donor Relations
Posted: Feb 25, 2008

"Today is the birthday of my oldest son, Chad, who was born when I was 19 years old. This fund is to assist students with special responsibilities who are passionate about completing their education, in spite of the challenges, like I was." - Kitty Lagareta

HONOLULU — Kitty Lagareta believes in giving back to her community. Widely known and respected for her business successes, she has also been acknowledged throughout the years as a tireless worker on behalf of those in need.

In recognition of her contributions to the community through her work with the Ronald McDonald House, the Harold K. L. Castle Foundation has awarded a special grant of $10,000 to be utilized in combination with a $40,000 gift from Lagareta, to establish an endowment to benefit students at Windward Community College. She and her husband, Roland, are long-time Kailua residents. The fund will provide financial assistance for tuition, fees, books and other educational expenses students may incur as a result of being enrolled in any course of study at the college.

Lagareta has served on the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents since 2003 including two years as vice chair and two as chair. She has long been a leader in Hawaiʻi‘s public relations and marketing industry and is chairman and CEO of Communications Pacific (CommPac), the premier integrated communications firm in Hawaiʻi. She joined the staff of CommPac in 1986, became the company‘s manager in 1995 and became its owner in 1998. At CommPac, Lagareta has provided strategic counsel and assistance to some of Hawaiʻi‘s largest companies as well as many well-known national companies that do business in the state.

She was named the first "Businesswoman of the Year" by Pacific Business News in 1999 and was also honored that year at the YWCA LeaderLuncheon as one of Hawaiʻi‘s women leaders. In 2002, Junior Achievement inducted Lagareta into the Hawaiʻi Business Hall of Fame. The following year, she was honored with the March of Dimes Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Award for Distinguished Community Service and the Pacific Gateway Center presented her its Community Building Award. Lagareta has received numerous awards for her communications work from the Hawaiʻi chapters of both the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), and in 2003 PRSA Hawaiʻi named her "Public Relations Professional of the Year."

In 1982, a group of concerned citizens determined there was an overwhelming need in Hawaiʻi for an affordable, temporary "home-away-from-home" for the families of children hospitalized with life-threatening illnesses. Lagareta was a founding member of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Hawaiʻi and served as its first volunteer executive director after her youngest son, Kalin, was hospitalized with spinal meningitis when he was 11 months old. The current RMHC board honored Lagareta at its first annual Gala in 2006.

Lagareta has also served as vice president of the Kapiʻolani Health Foundation and currently serves on the boards of the American Red Cross Hawaiʻi State Chapter, Boy Scouts of America Aloha Council and Enterprise Honolulu. She is a past president of the Rotary Club of Honolulu and has served two terms on the board of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaiʻi. She has also served on the boards of Hawaiʻi Business Entrepreneur and Acceleration Mentors (HiBEAM), Young CEOs and the Hawaiʻi Justice Foundation. Last year, as a result of the work she has done as a University of Hawaiʻi regent, Lagareta was asked to participate in a three-person team representing the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) to review and advise the University of California system.

Lagareta earned her bachelor‘s degree in English from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 1981 while raising two young sons. She worked hard to complete her college education and understands the challenges students may face. She established this fund to honor her sons (the older of whom was born on this date in 1974) and to provide encouragement and assistance to students with special responsibilities who are passionate about completing their education.

In the early 1900s, Harold Kainalu Long Castle believed the Windward side of Oʻahu was a beautiful place to live with the potential to become a vibrant community. He donated money and land in the area to establish schools, churches and hospitals to benefit the community. Since its inception, his foundation has awarded more than $143 million in grants with more than $50 million going to organizations serving Windward Oʻahu.

"Kitty Lagareta is a great role model for students today — from her communication and business acumen to her generosity toward our community. This gift demonstrates her commitment to giving back so that others have the opportunity to transform their lives through education. One of the great things about public higher education in Hawaiʻi is that whether students seek a two-year, four-year, or graduate degree, it‘s all available right here. Gifts like Kitty Lagareta‘s provide students with choices by opening doors to these educational pathways that can lead to greater opportunities for success," said Donna Vuchinich, president of the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation. "We would also like to acknowledge and thank the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation for its generosity and support of Kitty and our university."

About the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation
The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation is an independent, university-related, nonprofit organization whose purpose is to raise private funds according to priorities determined by the academic leadership of the University of Hawaiʻi and approved by the Board of Regents. Founded in 1955, the Foundation provides a full range of fund raising and alumni relations services for all 10 UH campuses.

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