The evening's festivities began with an informal gathering on the lanai at College Hill. Students from the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work entered at sunset and performed an Oli to bless the dinner and the honored guests including members of the Thompson family, the event sponsor, Sally Lampson Kanehe, House Speaker Calvin Say and Rep. Ty Cullen.
After dinner Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw thanked the group for their support of UH Mānoa. She also acknowledged former social worker and past president of the Alumni and Friends of the MBT School of Social Work, Sally Lampson Kanehe for her leadership and dedication to the School.
Serving dean Noreen Mokuau, the first School of Social Work dean of Hawaiian ancestry, spoke of the profound duty she felt to develop programs that will prepare students to meet the emerging challenges facing, not only the Kanaka Maoli, but all the people of Hawaiʻi. Guests then heard from Art Ushijima, CEO of Queens Health System, on the importance of social work to the community, and from Shalia Kamakele, a student and scholarship recipient, who shared how private support is helping her fulfill her dream to become a social worker and give back to her community.
Myron Thompson Jr., and Nainoa Thompson, sons of the late Myron B. Thompson then responded to Mokuau's comments. Nainoa said, with reverence in his voice, "When I listened to you speak earlier tonight, I heard my father's words." Myron and Nainoa concluded by expressing gratitude for and confidence in the School, knowing that students like Shalia are building upon the foundation of their father's work.
The evening ended with warm embraces and a strong sense of optimism.
Photos by: Sebastian DeGiorgio | University of Hawaiʻi Foundation