Hazel Theodore was born and raised in Honolulu. She graduated from Farrington High School and then attended UH Mānoa. With a keen interest in business she applied herself to her studies and graduated with a bachelor's degree with a major in economics and a minor in business. Hazel then embarked on her postgraduate education and earned a master's degree at Columbia Teachers College.
After returning to Hawaiʻi, Hazel joined the College of Commerce where she served as assistant director for seven years and Kapiʻolani Community College where she worked as professor of business education for 26 years.
In addition to teaching, Hazel enjoyed many adventures through international assignments, such as serving as clerk for the U.S. Department of Defense in Japan; working as UH consultant in Laos for three years for the Agency of International Development to develop the comprehensive high school system; and coordinating programs in Okinawa and Korea for the UH Employment Training Office. She also spent a year as an exchange professor at San Jose City College. Adding to these global experiences were short-term contracts conducting workshops in Samoa and Majuro for the UH Foreign Contracts Office.
While Hazel has retired from teaching, she continues to enrich our community with volunteer work at the Moiliili Thrift Store and Arcadia Gift Shop.
Living abroad and working in the higher education and training sector showed Hazel the impact education can make on not only an individual, but the whole community. She decided that she wanted to actively help students access a good education and receive the benefits provided by education.
Hazel also recognizes the important role the University of Hawaiʻi plays in creating an educated citizenry and how having an educated population is essential for Hawaiʻi if it is to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive global community. These factors moved Hazel to partner with the UH Foundation and make several gifts in areas she is passionate about.
Today, her combined gifts to UH total $100,000.
Hazel's generosity is making a difference through the funds she established:
- Hazel Tominaga Tsutsui Theodore Endowed Fund for the Arts at UH Mānoa is the first private gift to support UH Mānoa's Arts and Minds. This program features the best UH Mānoa has to offer in theatre, music, dance and the arts. Her gift will ensure the continued growth of this program, and will help promote new and exciting arts, scholars and musicians to the Mānoa campus.
- The Hazel Tominaga Tsutsui Theodore Endowed Scholarship for Culinary Arts at Kapiʻolani Community College. This fund helps students pursuing a degree in culinary arts with costs related to attendance (tuition, books, fees) in addition to the purchase of knife sets, chef jackets, texts and other types of equipment necessary for training.
- Her first major gift was made with her late husband Chris to the Institute for Astronomy.