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2004 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients Six Recipients to be Recognized at Awards Dinner on May 20, 2004

(Honolulu, Hawaiʻi) - The University of Hawaiʻi and the University of Hawaiʻi Alumni Association (UHAA) announced the recipients of the 2004 Distinguished Alumni Awards (DAA). The six outstanding UH alumni will be honored at the annual DAA dinner on May 20, 2004 beginning at 5 p.m. at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. Established in 1987, the UHAA awards recognize outstanding University of Hawaiʻi alumni who have used their university education to excel professionally, provide inspirational leadership to others, and provide service for the benefit of the community.

This year's recipient's are Beadie Kanahele Dawson, CEO of the Dawson Group; Attilio Kanei Leonardi, Honolulu Fire Department Chief; Thelma Chock Nip, lifelong Hawaiʻi educator; Barry K. Taniguchi, President and CEO of KTA Super Stores; and Frank Watase, Chair and President of California-based Quality! Natural Foods, Inc., Chair of Yum Yum Donuts, and owner of Sonoma Valley Bagels and East Coast Bagels. The UH Founders Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Ah Quon McElrath, an ILWU advocate.

Beadie Kanahele Dawson received her J.D. from UH Mānoa in 1981. Ms. Dawson earned her reputation as a noted attorney and businesswoman with her drive to help improve the community of Hawaiʻi. As CEO of the Dawson Group, a defense contractor for environmental projects, and as Of Counsel to Dwyer Schraff Meyer Jossem & Bushnell, she has become a luminary in business and law in Hawaiʻi, winning countless awards including the 2003 Pacific Business News Gladys Brandt Kupuna Businesswoman of the Year Award and the Hawaiʻi Women Lawyers' Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. Mrs. Dawson is recognized as an outstanding public speaker and was the Keynote Commencement Speaker at the 2003 UH Combined Commencement Ceremonies. She is a trustee for the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation.

Fire Chief Attilio Kanei Leonardi has served the Hawaiʻi community and has been a role model and leader for countless others for more than 33 years. He earned an AS in Fire Science in 1972 from Honolulu Community College and an MPA in Public Administration in 1994 from UH Mānoa. Mr. Leonardi is currently a member of University of Hawaiʻi's Public Administration Advisory Board, Honolulu Community College's Executive Advisory Board for Fire and Environmental Emergency Response Program, American Red Cross Hawaiʻi Chapter's Board of Directors, Hawaiʻi Community Foundation's Troy Barboza Scholarship Fund Advisory Board, and the Hawaiʻi State Civil Defense's Hawaiʻi Emergency Preparedness Executive Committee. He was recently appointed by the White House to serve on the Department of Defense Advisory Board for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, which provides advice to the Secretary of Defense about issues concerning Reservists and their civilian employers and recommendations for future policies regarding employer support actions for the Guard and Reserve.

Thelma Chock Nip has touched many young lives on O’ahu as a teacher, and later as school principal of Jarrett Intermediate, Kailua Intermediate, Kalani High, and Kaimuki High where she was named Principal of the Year. As an alumna of the UH Mānoa College of Education, Mrs. Nip provided leadership on a cooperative program between the college and the State Department of Education, and was the long-time school coordinator of the UH Teacher Training program. She is a UHAA Director and earned her BA in Arts and Sciences in l950, a Professional Teaching Certificate in l96l, and School Administration Certificate in l970 from UH Mānoa. She serves as vice-chairman of the Governor's Hawaiʻi Advisory Commission on Drug Abuse and Controlled Substances, and was president of the Associated Chinese University Women, Inc., the UH College of Education Alumni Association who selected her the alumna of the Year 2000, and state president of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women in education. She continues to be active in these organizations and the Community Church of Honolulu.

Barry K. Taniguchi is president and CEO of KTA Super Stores, and company director of Hawaiʻi Electric Company and American Savings Bank. A premier volunteer leader of UH Hilo and former UH Foundation trustee, his gifts have supported UH and its students systemwide. Mr. Taniguchi is a catalyst for community service, currently serving on the boards of: Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, Public Schools of Hawaiʻi Foundation, Lyman Memorial Museum, Pacific Tsunami Museum, the Queens Health System, Hawaiʻi Island Economic Development Board, and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawaiʻi. He earned a BBA in 1969 from UH Mānoa.

Frank Watase is the epitome of a successful entrepreneur. He is president/chairman of Quality Naturally Foods, Inc., chair of Yum Yum Donut Shops, Inc., and its subsidiary East Coast Sonoma, LLC. While still a student, Mr. Watase was a catalyst in the founding of the UH Mānoa College of Business Administration and has continued his volunteer support of CBA as an alumnus. He is a member of the CBA hall of honor, the UH President's Club and is a Korean War veteran. He also supports Mid Pacific Institute, was named their alumnus of the year in 2003, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaiʻi, and the Japanese-American National Museum in Los Angeles, where the Media Arts Center is named in his honor. He graduated in 1950 with a BA from UH Mānoa.

Ah Quon McElrath is this year's recipient of the UH Founders Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. McElrath is a 1930s and 1940s ILWU advocate credited with achieving standard-of-living improvements like occupational safety, ethnic equality, health care and education.  She was a member of the Committee on Welfare Concerns and has always been a leader in advocating for social change in education.  Ms. McElrath is a 1938 UH Mānoa alumna with a B.A. in Sociology and a B.S. in Anthropology and has served as a member of the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents. She is a recipient of the 2004 Ho’oulu Award for leadership from the Hawaiʻi Institute for Public Affairs.

For more information on the Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner, contact the Alumni Relations office at 1-877-UH-ALUMS. Cost is $75 for UHAA members, $125 for non-members, $1,000 for a table of ten people, or premium tables can be purchased for $1,500, $2,500 and $3,500.

Previous award recipients include Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka, U.S. Representatives Patsy Mink and Neil Abercrombie, Tina Shelton, Momi Cazimero, Joyce Tsunoda, Margaret Oda, Patsy Saiki, Walter Dods Jr., Larry Johnson, Jeanette Takamura, Alan Wong, Francis Oda, and Howard Karr.

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About the University of Hawaiʻi Alumni Association (UHAA). The University of Hawaiʻi Alumni Association (UHAA) was informally constituted in 1922, a few years after the first graduating class of 1911, and formalized into a system-wide umbrella organization for all UH-recognized alumni groups in 1988.  Its members support the university and UHAA sponsors events that showcase the university's excellence.  Governed by a Board of Directors, UHAA includes a nationwide and international network of 37 affiliated alumni groups. The Association's goal is to generate support for the university by encouraging interaction among UH graduates and friends. The work of the chapters and the support of the alumni association make the university a stronger learning institution and thus contribute to the strength of the community.

About the UH Foundation Office of Alumni Relations. The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation established the Office of Alumni Relations with the approval of the Board of Regents in December 2002. The Office of Alumni Relations works closely with the UH Alumni Association to serve the community of UH alumni and students in Hawaiʻi and worldwide. For more information about alumni programs, activities, and UHAA membership, please call the Office of Alumni Relations toll-free at 1-877-UH-ALUMS.

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

About the UH Founders Alumni Association. In 1922 an informal University of Hawaiʻi Alumni Association was formed, representing the Mānoa campus, the only University of Hawaiʻi campus during that time. Over time, the original Alumni Association was reorganized and renamed the UH Founders Alumni Association to reflect its tradition of representing those who graduated from UH Mānoa prior to 1960. The purpose of the UH Founders Alumni Association is to "promote and award student scholarships." The group is now a chapter of the current University of Hawaiʻi Alumni Association incorporated in 1988 to represent to University of Hawaiʻi's 10-campus system.