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$200,000 Grant to be Used for Construction of Lanihuli Observatory and $225,000 Grant to be Used for Pacific Initiative for Environmental Studies

(Honolulu, Hawaiʻi) - The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation awarded two grants totaling $425,000 to Windward Community College (WCC) through the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation (UHF): $200,000 for construction of the Lanihuli Observatory and $225,000 to support the Pacific Initiative for Environmental Studies at WCC.

WCC Chancellor Angela Meixell said of the two-part grant: "I am very proud of this grant because it affirms the community's recognition of the talents of our faculty and the valued service that they provide to our current and future students. We share the Castle Foundation's interest in assuring that more students pursue a college education and their recognition of science as a potential career field. We are grateful to the Castle Foundation for their generous support."

With regard to Lanihuli Observatory, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation awarded a grant totaling $93,000 in 2002, of which $72,900 was used for initial architectural drawings and planning phases of construction. To break ground, and complete construction and equipment purchases, WCC is seeking an additional $125,000 in private gifts, to supplement Harold K.L. Castle Foundation's $200,000 grant.

"The Lanihuli Observatory will open up the wonders of the universe to the 12,000 annual K-12 student visitors who already visit WCC's Imaginarium," Astronomy Professor Dr. Joseph Ciotti said. "The Lanihuli Observatory will bring them intimately closer to the rich heritage of Polynesian navigation and modern astronomical discoveries on Mauna Kea.  Its 'wow' factor will inspire the natural curiosity of our youth to explore, to learn, and to appreciate."

In addition to the grant for Lanihuli Observatory, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation is also supporting the Pacific Initiative for Environmental Studies program. Upon hearing of the grant, biology Professor Dr. David Krupp commented, "I am very excited about having the support of the Castle Foundation in kick-starting the launch of the Pacific Initiative for Environmental Studies. Castle's generous donation will greatly facilitate our environmental science education, outreach, and research initiatives at all levels - K-12, college, and the community - on the Windward side of O’ahu. We anticipate building a vigorous program that will provide education and training for Windward area students and community members and will contribute to improving the quality of life for Windward Oʻahu residents."

Dr. Floyd McCoy, professor of geology and oceanography, and part of the team heading up the Pacific Initiative for Environmental Studies added, "We are particularly pleased with Castle Foundation for not only supporting us in our efforts to galvanize public awareness of critical environmental matters, but to support us as we train students who will go on to careers in environmental industries.  These students will ultimately face and solve environmental challenges in the future."

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About The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation. The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation was founded in 1962 by Harold K.L. Castle and is the largest private foundation based in Hawaiʻi. Each year foundation directors award grants to non-profit organizations benefiting the people of the State of Hawaiʻi. Originally, the grants focused on the Windward side of Oahu, youth, private education, and health care. However, the broad purpose of the Foundation allows response to any current community concern.  From 1992 through 2002 alone, over $65,000,000 was granted to organizations serving Hawaiʻi, with over $20,000,000 going to organizations serving Windward Oahu.  Currently, the Foundation averages grant awards of $8,000,000 a year.

About Lanihuli Observatory. The Lanihuli Observatory will be used by students enrolled in the college's astronomy courses and Hawaiʻi Space Grant program as well as by the thousands of K-12 students who visit the Imaginarium and Aerospace Exploration Lab at Windward Community College.  The observatory will also be made available to the community after public Imaginarium shows.  Visitors will be able to view the planets, moon and stars through a 16-inch optical telescope, listen to the sounds of Jupiter, the sun and Milky Way galaxy with the college's radio telescope operated in affiliation with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and watch real-time images of the weather conditions surrounding the Hawaiʻian Islands with the observatory's weather satellite tracking station.  Plans also call for mounting an 8-inch heliostat on the observatory's roof for large-scale views of the Sun.

For more information on Lanihuli Observatory, please contact Dr. Joe Ciotti at 236-9111 or

About Pacific Initiative for Environmental Studies. The Pacific Initiative for Environmental Studies (PIES) will be the administrative umbrella for environmental education and research programs and activities at Windward Community College. PIES will be directed by a faculty coordinator who will implement its goals, coordinate and integrate the activities under its umbrella, manage its funds, ensure PIES is sustained beyond the lifetime of the grant, and develop the means to broaden the scope its activities. The following PIES programs and activities will be funded by the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation grant:

  • Hoa’aina Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Center for Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Studies and Water Quality Laboratory.
  • Marine Option Program.
  • Bio-Resources Development and Management Program.
  • Summer High School Enrichment Program in Environmental Science.

For more information on the Pacific Initiative for Environmental Studies please contact Dr. Floyd McCoy at 236-9115 or, or Dr. Dave Krupp at 236-9121 or

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

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