Increasing access and expanding learning opportunities at Hawai‘i CC

Hawaiʻi Community College
Margot Schrire,
UH Foundation
Posted: Jun 2, 2009

"On behalf of the students, faculty and staff of Hawaiʻi Community College I would like to extend a mahalo nui to Ron and Irene for their generosity and aloha. This gift will help eliminate the financial barriers many of our students face in pursuing a post secondary educational degree or certificate and allow them to take advantage of this window of opportunity we call education."
— Rockne Freitas, Chancellor, Hawaiʻi Community College

HILO - Students enrolled in career or technical programs at Hawaiʻi Community College are the beneficiaries of a new scholarship fund. Big Island residents Ronald and Irene Nagata recently established the Ronald H. and Irene M. Nagata Endowed Scholarship Fund with a gift of $25,000 to increase access and expand learning opportunities for students. Their endowed fund will provide financial assistance for tuition, books, equipment, and/or tools of the trade.

Both Ronald and Irene attended the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa before they received their masters‘ degrees at Kansas State University. After having been away for a time, they took up residency in Hilo where Irene taught at Hawaiʻi Community College (Trade & Industries & Liberal Arts, professor emeritus) and Ronald started an architectural practice. Their children: Robb, a graduate of the University of California at San Diego and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine, is now an anesthesiologist; Renée, who started her schooling at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and went to Iowa State University Graduate School for Veterinary Medicine, is now a practicing veterinarian; and Rochelle, who started her schooling at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and went on to the University of Idaho Architecture Program and Massachusetts Institute of Technology for graduate school, is now a practicing architect and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ("LEED") consultant.

"Our family is making this gift to say mahalo to our community for the kokua they gave to us when we first moved back home to Hawaiʻi," said Irene Nagata.

Scholarship criteria include students who are full-time undergraduates with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above. Preference will be given to a Hawaiʻi Island high school graduate and financial need is a criterion in making this award, although not necessarily as defined by Federal guidelines. Recipients will be selected by a committee appointed by the chancellor of Hawaiʻi Community College, and the number and amount of awards shall be determined by the selection committee based on the availability of funds.

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The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaiʻi System. Our mission is to unite our donors‘ passions with the University of Hawaiʻi's aspirations to benefit the people of Hawaiʻi and beyond. We do this by raising private philanthropic support, managing private investments and nurturing donor and alumni relationships. Please visit