An anonymous donor recently gifted the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo the largest scholarship endowment in the history of the school. The $3 million gift will provide three new scholarships for students at UH Hilo, including the first-ever endowed scholarship within the UH System that specifically supports students in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.
The Kruschel LGBTQ+ Endowed Scholarship for students who identify as LGBTQ+ is a first for the UH System and UH Hilo, which is one of the most diverse universities in the nation.
The Kruschel First-Generation Endowed Scholarship gives preference to students who are the first in their families to attend college, while the Kruschel Endowed Scholarship is open to all full-time undergraduates or graduate students who graduated from a Hawaiʻi Island high school.
“It’s exciting to see these students celebrated and supported with scholarships that will open new opportunities for them,” said UH Hilo Chancellor Bonnie D. Irwin. “Our university is stronger when all students have the tools and the resources they need to reach their full potential.”
The scholarships cover costs associated with attending school and have no limitations on what recipients may study, only that they be enrolled full-time to pursue a degree at UH Hilo. Students will receive the funds starting with the 2022-23 school year.
UH Hilo offers an array of resources for its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and asexual (LGBTIQA) students, including an LGBTQ+ Center and Pride Hilo, a registered independent student organization formed more than 30 years ago to nurture, educate and advocate for LGBTIQA issues on campus and in the community. Faculty and staff are also trained to provide safe zones for students, which raises awareness and encourages them to provide a comfortable place for LGBTQ+ students.
The UH System, through the President’s Office, also offers resources through the UH Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer+ (LGBTQ+) Equality, which promotes a safe and inclusive environment by creating a culture of equality, acceptance, respect and social justice across the university’s 10 campuses. At least two members of the commission are appointed from UH Hilo.
“We are grateful for this groundbreaking gift, the largest ever for UH Hilo, that will benefit so many under-represented and often marginalized students with scholarship funds that help them complete their UH journey,” UH President David Lassner said. “This donor is especially remarkable for their generosity and passion—and compassion—for bringing equity to deserving students who are often overlooked and most in need to succeed in attaining a college education.”
“It’s quite incredible to work with such generous donors who follow their passions to support students who don’t always get recognition, even as they themselves wish to remain anonymous,” said Tim Dolan, UH Foundation CEO and UH vice president of advancement. “A heartfelt mahalo to this donor and all donors who are working to close gaps in equity and opportunity so that all UH students can achieve their dreams.”
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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. uhfoundation.org