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A $2 million gift from the Gilbert and Aileen Chuck Foundation will provide full scholarships for nursing students in the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College starting this fall.

Gilbert and Aileen Chuck
Gilbert and Aileen Chuck

The gift creates the Kam Scholars Program for the UH Maui College Nursing Program for the next 10 years. The merit-based scholarship program will provide first- and second-year nursing students with enough funds to cover the costs of tuition and books, fees and other costs associated with attendance.

Scholarships will be given to the top-ranked students entering the 2024-25 cohort for the associate of science in nursing (ASN) program, and also to the top-ranked second-year students.

Hawaiʻi faces a critical shortage of nurses. There were nearly 150 open positions for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNs) on Maui in 2022, according to the most recent Healthcare Workforce Initiative Report from the Healthcare Association of Hawai‘i. The report noted that 39% of all LPN positions were vacant at that time, up from 20% in 2019, while a quarter of all positions for medical-surgical RNs were vacant, while some specialties had a vacancy rate of up to 42%. The same report said that Hawaiʻi would have just 70% of the RNs it needs this year.

The number of vacant LPN positions in Hawaiʻi is forecast to increase by 1% each year until 2030 and employers will have to hire 90 LPNs each year to replace LPNs who have left and to fill new positions, according to the 2023 Hawaiʻi Nursing Workforce Supply Report from the Hawaiʻi State Center for Nursing. For the RN workforce, hiring has increased, and there has been a reduction in the need to hire travel nurses to fill gaps in staffing.

While UH Maui College offers one of the most affordable nursing degrees, for many of Maui’s nursing students costs can be steep.

“Our current ASN students are experiencing multiple financial stressors, which create barriers to their learning,” said Mary Farmer, Allied Health Department chair. “The Kam Scholars Program will make a tremendous impact on helping our students thrive in nursing school and beyond.”

The Kam Scholars Program is named for Aileen Chuck’s father, Dr. Edwin T. Kam (1904-1993), who was born on Kauaʻi and trained as a physician in China and at the University of Pennsylvania and had a longtime medical practice in Windward Oʻahu.

The Gilbert and Aileen Chuck Foundation believes an investment in a nurse is an investment in an individual, their family, and the Maui community for many years to come, said Ron Purdy, a trustee for the foundation. Aileen Chuck died in June 2023, seven years after the death of her husband.

“We hope that the scholarships make the students’ enrollment a little easier and provide a feeling of accomplishment for their hard work in pursuing their careers,” Purdy said. “We are pleased to make a difference in the future for these aspiring students and that Maui’s health will be better for their hard work at the college pursuing their career.”

The UH Maui College nursing program is part of the Hawaiʻi Statewide Nursing Curriculum. UH Maui College is an accredited college that offers three bachelor of applied science degrees, a wide variety of associate degrees and certificates, as well as distance learning degrees through its UH Center on campus. UHMC is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools & College.

FOR UH • FOR HAWAIʻI, The Campaign for the University of Hawaiʻi, is focused on raising $1 billion to support UH priorities on all 10 campuses across the state, including student success; research that matters; kuleana to Native Hawaiians and Hawaiʻi; sustainability, resilience and conservation; innovation and entrepreneurship; building Hawaiʻi’s workforce; and engaging our community. Learn more at

Questions? / More Information

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808-956-8700 or send us a message.

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The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations.