Families unite to establish scholarship endowment at UH Manoa

Toyama, Yamasaki and Masaki families create "ToYaMasaki" Fund

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Feb 3, 2009

HONOLULU — Students wishing to transfer to UH Mānoa from any of the seven community colleges in the University of Hawaiʻi system are eligible to get a boost from an endowed scholarship fund established by three local families known for their contributions to education.

Jean Yamasaki Toyama has spent more than 40 years sharing her gifts as a respected teacher and UH professor, earning the prestigious Regents Excellence in Teaching Award in 2000 and the gratitude and respect of thousands of students. She is a UH alumna, a French professor, and until recently, the associate dean of the College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature. She and her husband, Dennis, decided recently to establish a charitable remainder trust, naming the university as the beneficiary.

Dennis‘ sister, Hideko Masaki, was a beloved teacher for 33 years. After the death of her husband, Harry Masaki, and her retirement, she devoted much of her time to volunteer work. She and her husband had established the Halawa Hills Corporation many decades before and it was their wish to return some of its benefits to the community. Tragically, just weeks after establishing a scholarship endowment at UH in October, she was killed in a car accident in Honolulu.

Last July, Jean Yamasaki Toyama and her sisters, Bette Uyeda and Peggy Cha established another scholarship fund at Kauaʻi Community College in honor of their parents, who understood the importance of a good education and worked hard all their lives to ensure their daughters would have the opportunities they never had. Noted educators in their own right, Bette Uyeda, a UH alumna, retired from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa after 27 years of service as a financial aids and student academic adviser. Peggy Cha, also a UH graduate, recently retired as chancellor of Kauaʻi Community College after 30 years of service in the UH System.

Scholarship recipients must be full-time undergraduate students transferring from any campus of the University of Hawaiʻi Community College System to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in any area of study and must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above. Preference will be given to graduates of a Hawaiʻi high school.

"Our three families have always valued education," said Jean Yamasaki Toyama. "We just wanted to do our part to help students who have aspirations and are willing to work hard to realize them. It‘s important to support the community colleges as well as UH Mānoa."

"We all got a kick out of the name ToYaMasaki," she added. "It combined all three families in a very economical way."