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Audrey Furukawa and Friends Establish Endowed Scholarship for Study Abroad Program

"I wanted to act on my belief in the personal transformational impact of global education and its ultimate outcome in achieving world peace."
Audrey Furukawa


(Hilo, Hawaiʻi) — During her 30-year career as an administrator and educator at UH Hilo, three personal core values have driven Audrey Furukawa: family, friendship and opportunity. Now, with the help of family and friends, she will give others in her community the opportunity to study abroad by establishing the Audrey S. Furukawa Study Abroad Scholarship Endowment.

Furukawa made the lead gift upon her retirement from UH Hilo, and then enlisted the community to raise additional funds. "I wish to extend a very special thank you to my family and the many friends who joined me in creating this endowment," she said. "I am deeply honored by your participation and generosity in establishing this educational legacy. Your gift will enable eligible Hawaiʻi students to begin their global education journey and open infinite doors of opportunity. New geographical and cultural landscapes will enrich their lives and expand their vision. The impact of your gift is immeasurable and everlasting."

To be eligible, students must be enrolled fulltime as an undergraduate at UH Hilo and show academic merit as demonstrated with a minimum 3.2 GPA. The study experience will be at least one semester and reserved for students who have not studied, traveled or lived abroad for more than a month. Preference will be given to Hawaiʻi high school graduates.

Furukawa values the opportunity to give back. "It is difficult to verify how lives are enriched and how world peace can be achieved through global education and exchange," she said. "Yet I am convinced of the positive impact of global education, and wish to make such educational opportunities a reality by establishing this endowment."

She credits her family — husband Ronald, daughter Liane Higa and son Tyler — as her passion and inspiration. "We each have journeyed near and far and shared joy and sorrow," she said.

"I also cherish the many friends who have journeyed with me and shared their love and support through my trials and tribulations," she added. "And I applaud the students, the true teachers, who are so eager and bright-eyed to experience the world and leave their indelible and hopeful footprints for peace and harmony."

A lifelong resident of Hilo, Audrey Furukawa attended Hilo College, the predecessor of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, when it was a two-year institution, and then went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She spent over 30 years as a faculty member and administrator at UH Hilo, retiring in 2008 from dual positions as Executive Assistant to the Chancellor, and Director of the Center for Global Education and Exchange, which she established in 2005.

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About Endowed Scholarships:

  • The minimum amount required to establish an endowed scholarship at UH Hilo is $25,000.
  • The amount of money the endowment will generate, or "payout rate" is established by the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation Board of Trustees on an annual basis.
  • Scholarships will be awarded one year after becoming fully endowed.
  • Students may apply online at www.uhh.hawaii.edu/financialaid.

The University of Hawaiʻi Hilo is a comprehensive university with five degree-granting colleges, six master’s programs and two doctoral programs. UH Hilo strives to integrate culture and science, offer hands-on learning opportunities to its students and use the Island of Hawaiʻi as a natural learning laboratory. Enrollment has doubled since 1980 to more than 3,600 students coming from all fifty states and more than 40 countries. Please visit www.uhh.hawaii.edu.

The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation is an independent, university-related, nonprofit organization whose purpose is to raise private funds according to priorities determined by the academic leadership of the University of Hawaiʻi and approved by the Board of Regents. Founded in 1955, the Foundation provides a full range of fund raising and alumni relations services for all ten UH campuses. For more information, visit www.uhf.hawaii.edu.

The Centennial Campaign is an historic private fundraising initiative to raise $250 million to support the University of Hawaiʻi’s commitment to our students, our community and our world. For more information about the Centennial Campaign, please visit www.uhf.hawaii.edu.

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