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The Will J. Henderson Aloha Fund will be awarded annually to every first-year medical student

HONOLULU — President emeritus of The Queen’s Medical Center (1960-1986), and key player in the establishment of a four-year medical school in Hawai‘i, Will J. Henderson F.A.C.H.E., M.H.A., B.A. is now nurturing future physicians

Celebrating the Will J. Henderson Aloha Fund at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine: Photo curtesy of Scott Nishi

Henderson has established the Will J. Henderson Aloha Fund at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine to support every first-year medical student.  This year’s students will benefit from this new scholarship this spring, with the earnings generated by the endowment. This generous endowment will perpetually encourage all first year medical students to pursue their dreams of becoming physicians.

Will Henderson said, “Originally the scholarship was set to benefit future students, once the endowment funds started to pay out. But this changed when a recent chance encounter at a local restaurant brought me face to face with one of this year’s freshmen. We got to chatting and when she told me she was excited about starting at JABSOM, I let her know about my plans to establish a scholarship for future students. She thought about this for a second, and then, respectfully but directly, asked me to consider changing it so today’s students could benefit. I mulled this over and decided she was right.”

Henderson continued, “I decided to make this gift to recognize JABSOM for the instrumental role it plays in training essential physicians and specialists, and founding relationships and partnerships that will be of value to our community and state for years to come.” Henderson concluded, “I also made this gift so that all recipients know that we expect them to successfully complete their medical degrees. I made this early investment in their education as proof of this belief, and hope to be invited to their graduations. I am also making this gift in honor of Senator Francis Wong and all he has done to shape Hawai‘i.”

The Honorable Francis A. Wong, who in his early thirties served as a Hawai‘i State Senator and as Chairman of the Higher Education Committee, and Will Henderson, then president of The Queen’s Medical Center, were key players in moving the dream of a four-year medical school to a reality.

Senator Wong shared, “I cannot believe that more than four decades have passed since Will knocked on my senate office door to champion medical education.  His tireless advocacy to educate doctors for Hawai‘i helped fuel the creation of a thriving four-year medical school. Hawai‘i is better today because of the medical school, and indeed because of Will Henderson.”

JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges added, “We will be forever grateful to Will Henderson for his commitment and leadership in shaping the medical school for success back in the 1970s. This gift ensures that his historic legacy will live on in the lives and success of future JABSOM trained physicians, all of whom will receive his scholarship.”

During his career, Henderson was involved in the health care industry and education in Hawai‘i, Japan, the People’s Republic of China, and the Philippines. He has been recognized for his contributions in myriad ways including being the recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays and Rosette from the Emperor of Japan.

In addition to playing a key leadership role in healthcare, Henderson has been an active community leader, serving as a charter member of the board of directors and first vice president of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i; president of the Japan America Society of Hawai‘i; member of the board of trustees at Willamette University; regent and life fellow of the American College of Health-Care Executives; and member of the board of trustees of the American Hospital Association. He has also served as the president of Rotary Foundation of Honolulu, and president of Hawai‘i Health Care Association. Henderson was the first academically trained hospital executive in Hawai‘i, having earned a Master’s degree in hospital administration from the University of California, Berkeley.

“Will Henderson’s 26-year tenure at Queen’s Medical Center is rich with meaningful accomplishments. A mentor throughout his lifetime, Will set the standard in hospital leadership with compassion, understanding and dedication,” said UH Foundation president and CEO Donna Vuchinich. She continued, “The UH Foundation has had the privilege of partnering with Will over the years, as he has grown this legacy through his philanthropy.  This new scholarship will positively impact our students today and in the future, and help Hawai‘i recruit, train and retain the best medical professionals our state needs.”

To find out how you can support the students and programs at JABSOM, please contact:

Elaine EvansElaine Evans
Director of Development and Alumni Engagement for the John A. Burns
School of Medicine
[email protected]
t (808) 692-0991, f (808) 692-1246

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