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September 14, 2011

Botsai Endowment Nurtures Architecture Faculty Excellence

HONOLULU — Elmer and Sharon Botsai have made a gift to establish the Elmer Botsai Professional Practice and Research Award at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Architecture. Elmer, the School’s first dean, always believed that it would serve the faculty well to be practicing architects while teaching, or to actively interact with outstanding professional firms. The couple created this fund to give tenured or tenured track faculty the opportunity to gain valuable experience within architectural firms beyond Hawaiʻi that they could bring back into the classroom. The purpose of the fund is to encourage and nurture excellence.

"It has been our pleasure to set up a fund that will encourage professional development for staff at the School of Architecture. I have always believed it is extremely important for professors to be practitioners as well as teachers and hope they will take advantage of a little help towards that end in the years to come," said Sharon and Elmer Botsai.

The Fellows of American Institutes of Architects (AIA), Hawaiʻi, were inspired by the Botsais’ gift and are committed to matching their gift. The Fellows' commitment is meant to encourage others to donate to the fund that recognizes and honors a colleague and friend who has made a significant contribution to the School in his lifetime. “We would like to thank all those who contributed to this fund and for those who helped to establish it through the school and the foundation," Sharon and Elmer added.

Elmer E. Botsai, FAIA, professor emeritus of the School of Architecture, served as founding dean of the School from 1980 to 1990. He continued his professional practice at Group 70 International after retiring from the School in 1998. A nationally recognized expert in Building Diagnostics, Botsai has more than 50 years of professional experience and has co-authored four books on building technology. He is a fellow and past national president (1978) of the American Institute of Architects, and has received honorary fellowships in Mexico, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In 2003 the Hawaiʻi State Council of AIA awarded him the Medal of Honor, their highest award. The 2005 UH Distinguished Alumni Award recipient earned his ArchD in 2000 graduating with the School’s first doctoral class. Botsai is the only Hawaiʻi resident who has served as president of the AIA national organization; the same year he became Dean.

“No one is remembered with more passionate description than Elmer Botsai. All speak of his commitment to our profession, leadership and unbending dedication. As founding Dean, he set a very high bar. Under his direction the School of Architecture set a professional direction which is still very much a part of its core today. The endowment in his name not only reflects support of our School and the profession, but also the belief that they mutually serve one another," said Clark E. Llewellyn, dean, School of Architecture.

For more information on how you can support the School of Architecture, please contact Harriet Cintron at (808) 956-3594 or You can also make a give online at

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