As a young girl, retired Leeward Community College provost Sharon Narimatsu was fascinated by history. Ancient times and far away countries were of great interest to the Molokaʻi native, and she poured herself into books borrowed from her local public library dreaming of one day being able to see Europe for herself. At a young age the public library provided her with the resources that fueled her love of history, a love that eventually led her to teaching and administration.
Having access to resources, not only as a young girl but as a teacher and administrator, is something Narimatsu believes to be essential in enhancing education. For faculty and staff, resources not only take the form of books but can also take the form of development opportunities such as teacher conferences and training seminars. As a testament to her continued support of education excellence at Leeward, Narimatsu has gifted $26,000 to establish the Sharon S. Narimatsu Faculty and Staff Development Endowment to support development opportunities for Leeward CC faculty and staff.
Narimatsu received both her BA in history and MA in American studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and has a long history serving the university system. Her time as an instructor and administrator has given her valuable insight into the impact faculty and staff development can have.
“It is so important that these individuals continue to have access to the latest developments in their fields and to incorporate those new ideas and practices in their positions at the college in order to maintain excellence across the campus,” said Narimatsu, who recalls the hard work and dedication of faculty, staff and administration at the college.
During her time as provost, faculty and staff of Leeward CC’s culinary program shared a vision for a stronger program to benefit students in West Oʻahu and the North Shore. However, obstacles including outdated and faulty equipment destined the program for closure. Mounting a concerted effort, the culinary faculty and staff undertook a valiant effort to gain the support from members of Hawaiʻi’s culinary industry in order to save the program.
Inspired by such dedication across Leeward CC, Narimatsu hopes her gift will in turn support the development of the faculty, staff and administration who have so faithfully served their campus.
“The real winners are the students,” added Narimatsu. “They will be educated by knowledgeable faculty who strive to keep up-to-date in a rich learning environment, all supported by administration and staff who work diligently behind the scenes.”
“We can’t thank Sharon Narimatsu, our former provost, enough for this generous gift,” said Leeward CC Chancellor Manny Cabral. “The fact that it will support on-going training of our full-time faculty and staff is a rarity. Actually, it is the first gift of its kind at our campus. As you can imagine, our faculty and staff are very pleased with the prospect of training opportunities to learn, refresh and gain knowledge as they teach and inspire their students.”
Added Narimatsu, “From the hard-working custodians and groundskeepers, to the inspired faculty in the classrooms, to the conscientious support staff who keep the college running on a daily basis, each contributes to the success of the college, and supporting all of them in a small way through this gift gives me great joy.”