“If University of Hawaiʻi students embrace the power of Hawaiʻi’s culture, the beauty of its land and the humility of living aloha, they will be at an advantage anywhere they live or work,” says Clinton Inouye, a 1980 graduate of UH Mānoa’s School of Travel Industry Management (TIM School). “Pure academics can be taught anywhere. Living with aloha can only be learned in Hawaiʻi.”
Inouye spent 29 years as a systems manager for Starwood Hotels & Resorts and has remained an active officer and volunteer with TIM International, Inc.’s UH Alumni Association chapter. Today he is a professional photographer, the owner of It’s Photo Time! by Clinton Inouye.
“The friends I made in TIM School have remained in my life to this day,” he says, recalling picnics, camps, excursions, facility tours, and learning to carry a waiter’s tray for the first time with real plates in Kapi‘olani Park. “You could drop and spill things in the park, something that would never be allowed if you trained inside a working restaurant. Real restaurants frown upon dropping and breaking dishes while training!”
Inouye says, “These activities bonded us to each other while we learned to work with people from all around the world.” Lasting relationships are one reason for his establishing the Clinton K. Inouye Scholarship, supporting undergraduate students at UH Mānoa’s TIM School.
Giving back and leaving a legacy are the others.
“My time as a TIM Student was essential to my growth,” he says. “We learned academics and life skills through internships and projects like TIM Night, an annual event emphasizing practical execution of theoretical classroom teachings in real world environments, such as the industrial kitchens and banquet facilities in large hotels. The disciplines and skills I learned in college defined my adult life.”
Inouye’s desire to help Hawai‘i’s students in the TIM program reaches toward those who aren’t traditional targets for receiving financial aid. In order to provide even more assistance for these students, he has committed a portion of his estate to endow the fund further.
“I have no children and my extended family is financially comfortable,” he says. “This scholarship in my name is a way to leave a legacy of TIM School graduates who will be leaders, caring about their guests, their environment, and their fellow employees: managers with aloha for the good of Hawai‘i.”