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Honoring Visionaries, Opening Doors

Graduate and former faculty member creates Geography Founders scholarship at UH Hilo

"The geography department at UH Hilo gave me the basis for becoming a successful professional. What I am giving back is only a small proportion of the added value I received at UH Hilo."

Ron Terry

Throughout his time as a geography student at UH Hilo Ron Terry pulled weeds at anthurium farms to pay his tuition. As the first member of his family to attend college, he appreciated attending a smaller school, and the fledgling geography department offered opportunities for sophisticated research on Mauna Kea and the surrounding forests.

At the urging of his instructors, Terry went on to graduate school at Louisiana State University, and earned his master's degree and a PhD in geography. He joined the UH Hilo faculty in 1987 and taught geography until 1992 when he began his consulting work.

Today, Terry is a successful businessman, the founder of Geometrician Associates in Hilo, a business consulting firm that conducts environmental impact assessments.

To honor the department's founders: Drs. Jim and Sonia Juvik, Dr. Jim Kelly and the late Dr. Jack Healy, Terry established an endowed scholarship and named it the Geography Founders Scholarship. This scholarship benefits students who are in need of financial assistance in the geography department.

Dr. Healy started a "geography discipline" in the late 1960s when a UH Hilo history professor saw a need for a geography focus. Jim and Sonia Juvik came on board to teach geography in 1971 and Dr. Kelly was hired in 1975.

Today, between 400 and 500 UH Hilo students enroll in a geography class every semester, and the department graduates 10 to 15 students every year.

"About 30% of our students come from families with very limited resources and nearly 70% are the first in their families to attend college.

This generous contribution will help lessen the burden of debt with which so many UH Hilo students graduate, while honoring the visionary founders of one of our stellar programs."

UH Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng
For Our University, Our Hawai‘i, Our Future