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September 30, 2014

Tom F. Carpenter Memorial Fund

When retired UH lecturer Tom Carpenter passed away, his sister Janet Carpenter chose to honor him by establishing the Tom F. Carpenter Memorial Fund. The fund supports Outreach College Community Programs that provide statewide access to cultural and educational events featuring local and visiting artists and scholars.  This memorial is an appropriate tribute that extends Tom’s legacy.

Friends and former colleagues, Michael Gorholski, Jennie Phillips, Barbara Norfleet and Jocelyn Kaneshiro all agreed. “This fund would be exactly what he would want because he loved the arts,” said Gorholski.

Born in Kansas, Carpenter embraced the Hawaiian culture after his arrival in the islands and would later use his Hawaiian given name Lama Ku for the title of his outreach program. Carpenter launched and then nurtured for nearly 20 years a program called “Lama Ku” through the UH College of Continuing Education and Community Service, today’s UH Mānoa Outreach College. The program featured hundreds of performances presented across the state. As Carpenter described it at that time, “The thrust of the program has been to reach people who have limited access to cultural activities. We started out with an experimental program on Kaua‘i in 1973. From there we spread to all the neighbor islands, and I found myself working with librarians, hospitals, correctional facilities, the community colleges and schools. The program seeks to reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of all Hawai‘i.” 

After developing the Lama Ku program, Carpenter taught at Kamehameha Schools before returning to UH to teach storytelling in the speech department where he, Norfleet and Kaneshiro worked.

He drove his large Cadillac as long as he could, drank a dry martini or glass of wine before dinner, was a patron of the opera and symphony, enjoyed books, and travelled abroad and to the mainland at least twice a year. He particularly enjoyed seeing the world by cruise ship. “Right now he’s on his everlasting cruise, enjoying his martini and listening to classical music,” noted Kaneshiro with a smile.

We’re fortunate for the lives his programs and classes touched while he was with us and fortunate that his legacy will continue thanks to the generosity of Carpenter’s friends and family.

Questions? / More Information

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808 376-7800 or send us a message.

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