Dr. Donnis Thompson
1st Women's Athletic Director, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Back in 1972, with a next-to-nothing budget, Dr. Thompson got the Rainbow Wahine athletic program off the ground as UH Mānoa’s first women’s athletic director. All she had was $5,000 and a dream. At that time there were only two women’s sports — volleyball and track — and only one woman’s athletic scholarship. That year that scholarship went to a drum majorette.
From humble beginnings, Thompson led a program that now includes some 200 female student athletes, 12 sports, a $4 million budget and high expectations.
Nationally renowned artist Jan-Michelle Sawyer, a former professor at UH and a longtime friend of Donnis Thompson, created the sculpture that was unveiled on October 28, 2007 to honor the tremendous contributions that Dr. Thompson has made to women's athletics and particularly those at the University of Hawaiʻi.