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UHH Distinguished Alumni & Service Awards Banquet is Feb. 22

The University of Hawaii at Hilo’s 13th annual Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards Banquet will be held on Feb. 22, in the UH-Hilo Campus Center Dining Room beginning at 5 p.m. Tickets are $75 each or $600 for a table of eight.

This year’s alumni honorees are Bishop Eric Matsumoto, Larry Kimura and Valerie Takata. The distinguished service honoree is Gerald De Mello.

Matsumoto is the 16th bishop of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, the state’s largest Buddhist denomination. He is the third youngest minister in the history of the mission to assume the title of bishop. Born and raised in Honaunau, he is a graduate of Konawaena High School and a recipient of the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship.

Kimura is recognized as the grandfather of the movement to perpetuate the use of Hawaiian language in modern Hawaii, and has a Ph.D. in indigenous language revitalization.

Takata is the state Department of Education Complex Area superintendent for the Hilo and Waiakea Districts. Prior to her appointment in February 2002, Takata served as Hawaii District superintendent and deputy district superintendent.

De Mello is the former director of University Relations at UH-Hilo, a position he held for 21 years. He previously taught sociology for 15 years at UH-Hilo and Hawaii Community College, where his efforts were recognized with the Excellence in Teaching Award. Following his tenure as an educator, De Mello was East Hawaii administrative assistant to Gov. John Waihee.

Under his directorship, the university has attracted funding and resources for many new buildings.

Call the UH-Hilo Marketing and Alumni Office at 974-7501 or 974-7643 to purchase tickets. Information is also available at The event is sponsored by the University’s Alumni and Friends Association.

a new classroom building, a Marine Science Building, a Student Life Center and a new Science and Technology Building. He also helped to establish the North Hawaii Education and Resource Center, the College of Pharmacy, a new College of Hawaiian Language building and the Student Housing Complex University Village Phase I.


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