The Educational Legacy of the Loui Family

"Mrs. Loui was an astute business woman and an inspiring internationalist who touched many people's lives. The China Fund that she established in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources promoted cultural exchanges and served as the catalyst for collaborative research between China and our college. Mrs. Loui left a lasting legacy in the good will and scientific knowledge resulting from these initiatives."

College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Dean Sylvia Yuen

Bernice Char Loui, 104, of Honolulu died on January 18, 2012 at Straub Clinic & Hospital. She attended McKinley High and Phillips Commercial School. She worked at Eastman Kodak-Hawaii and in 1931 married Leong Hop Loui who was a sports reporter at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Early on, Bernice and her husband borrowed on their insurance policy and traveled widely. In September 1946, the couple partnered with Robert MacGregor, a former Pan American Airlines manager, to start Hawaiʻi's first nationally accredited tour agency, International Travel Service. This venture would grow into three subsidiaries, Trade Wind Tours, Trade Wind Transportation, and Hawaiian Cruises and provide exciting adventures. In 1953 they led a group of 12 to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London. In 1956 they were guests of Chiang Kai Shek in Taiwan, opening the travel market there. Twenty years later, they led a trip to China just five months after President Nixon's historic visit with Mao Tse-tung. After 40 years in business and the death of her husband, Bernice sold the company and retired but still traveled when she had time. Over the course of her life, she circled the globe four times.

Bernice and Leong Hop raised two sons who were entrepreneurs too. Gordon and Norman Loui ran Hawaiian Rent-All for 40 years before selling it in 2004. Unfortunately Norman passed away in 2006. Norman's last wishes and his mother's desire that her son be remembered contributed to the family's legacy to the Honolulu Community College as well as the University of Hawaiʻi.

Over several decades the Loui family, led by Bernice, built their educational legacy for this state through their generous investments in the University of Hawaiʻi.

"Hundreds of medical students have taken their first steps to becoming skilled clinicians in the Bernice Char Loui Clinical Skills Laboratory. Thanks to the resources available in the lab, students are able to learn and practice important physical examination and medical communication skills, in preparation of caring for patients in our community. The impact of the training in this lab is tremendous, as it lays the foundation for every clinical patient encounter that every JABSOM medical student will have for the entirety of their careers."

Dr. Richard Kasuya, Associate Dean of Medical Education

Here are highlights of that philanthropy:

  • In memory of her late husband, Bernice provided the resources to establish the "Leong Hop and Bernice C. Loui Computer Laboratory" for the School of Travel Industry Management at UH Mānoa. The computer lab is on the cutting edge of computer and information technology and provides a venue for courses that focus on computer information systems for decision-making in various sectors of the travel industry and the impact of technological innovation in this field.
  • A generous donation from Bernice Loui was used to establish the China Fund at UH Mānoa's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). In its 30 years, the China Fund has funded or leveraged visits to China by CTAHR faculty and students to China, supported graduate students from China in CTAHR, and funded short-term faculty delegation exchanges between China and CTAHR to plan research and academic programs of mutual interest and establish new or renew earlier cooperative agreements. These exchanges and agreements have led to a number of research collaborations between China and CTAHR and ongoing summer training programs for Chinese students at UHM.
  • Bernice also funded student scholarships in Mānoa's School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Global Environmental Sciences Program and Kapiʻolani Community College's School of Culinary Arts.
  • The Char Asian Pacific Study Room at Kapiʻolani Community College's library is named in honor of Bernice's late brother and sister-in-law Tin Yuke and Wai Jane Char.
  • In 2005, Bernice was the first to make a private philanthropic gift to the new John A. Burns School of Medicine facility where she endowed the Bernice Char Loui Clinical Skills Room.
  • Through Norman Loui's estate, the family contributed more than $3 million to Honolulu Community College, Norman's alma mater. In 2007, that was the largest private donation ever given to a UH community college. The gift created three endowments to provide a "Tools of the Trade" scholarship for tuition and buying tools for needy students studying construction trades, resources for projects using innovative technology or construction techniques, and to support the local boating industry through workshops and training on safety and proper maintenance at the Marine Education and Training Center. In recognition of this tremendous gift, the Board of Regents named the Norman W. H. Loui Conference Center in his honor.
  • Her last gift is through her estate for general support of KCC's School of Culinary Arts.

Over the years, Bernice and her family contributed nearly $5 million. Bernice Loui will be missed and long remembered for her educational legacy.

The Loui family's remarkable generosity over the years is truly helping UH create the future for the people of Hawaiʻi.