“Being able to go to UH on a scholarship was a turning point in my life. For that I am deeply grateful. I want to do the same for others who are just starting out. With education, doors open. Without a university education it is very difficult to get anywhere,” said Donald Aten.
The Donald G. and Jean C. K. Aten Endowed Scholarship was established to support students pursing an undergraduate degree in any area of study at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa College of Education.
Donald G. Aten enrolled in the College of Education, known as Teachers College, in 1953 after serving five years in the United States Marine Corps, including a combat tour in the Korean War. He was able to enroll with the financial assistance provided by the Veteran’s Readjustment Assistance Act of 1952 (G.I. Bill).
Donald met his wife, Jean Chiseyo Kawatachi, who was already a student at Teachers College, and the two married in 1955. They both received a bachelor’s degree in education from the college before going on to earn graduate degrees from Columbia University.
In 1959, after teaching in public schools for several years, Donald began working for Teachers College as an instructor in education. Over the following three decades, he would earn a doctorate in education and become full professor. He retired in 1992 as Emeritus Professor of Education.
Jean spent several years interning at a school library and teaching in a private school before becoming the Pauoa Elementary School Librarian in 1958. During a two-year leave (1961–63), she earned a master’s degree in library science and was employed by the New York City Library as a children’s librarian. She returned to her position at Pauoa until her retirement in 2003.
“Were it not for the scholarship I received, I wouldn’t have been able to earn my degree,” Donald said. “I want to be able to do that for someone else.”
The Atens used a charitable remainder trust, funded with a rental condo unit, to make this gift. By doing so they are receiving a life income and tax relief, while making a wonderful commitment for a legacy gift.