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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, August 10, 2001

Dods donates $1M to UH

By Jean Chow
Advertiser Staff Writer

Dods: Aims to help 12 students per year

Walter Dods, chairman and chief executive officer of First Hawaiian Bank, and his wife Diane have donated $1 million to University of Hawai'i scholarships for Hawai'i public high school graduates, the university announced yesterday.

Graduates who are children of immigrants will be given preference, the university said.

Dods, who co-chaired the recent fund-raising campaign that drew $116 million in gifts to the University of Hawai'i Foundation, and his wife are UH alumni.

The two said they were impressed by initial steps taken by new UH President Evan Dobelle and hope their gift inspires "other people of means to step up and help the University of Hawai'i, the single most important institution in our state."

The scholarships would be reserved for public school graduates because Hawai'i "cannot succeed unless our public education is viewed as an avenue toward success in life," Walter Dods said. "We can't afford for (these students) to be viewed as second-class educational citizens."

Diane Dods said second-generation immigrants would be given preference.

"I remember from my days at Roosevelt High School how much immigrant parents value higher education and how hard they work to give their children educational advantages in the country they've adopted," she said. "Their children struggle with learning a new culture and new language at the same time.

Dobelle, who has been touting a host of proposals to improve UH since he arrived this summer, was pleased with the donation.

"To have my administration validated so early on by individuals of such stature as Walter and Diane Dods is deeply appreciated, as are the values they show for what they want their philanthropy to underline — every kid having the ability to realize that dreams can come true."

The scholarships, part of the "Walter and Diane Dods Scholarship Fund," will be distributed by the University of Hawai'i Foundation starting immediately.

"We hope to affect around 12 students every year," Walter Dods said.

"It's a significant donation for the university, and we're really thankful for it," said Shawn Nakamoto, director of public relations for UH. "The university didn't ask for it. It was something (the Dods) wanted to do on their own."

In 1999, the First Hawaiian Foundation, the charitable arm of First Hawaiian Bank, announced a $1 million donation to create an endowed chair at the University of Hawaii College Business Administration.