The UH Foundation endowment paid out more than $12 million to University of Hawaiʻi programs supporting students and faculty this past fiscal year. The tangible effects of these endowment investments are illustrated through the intertwined stories of L. Stephen Lau and Daniel Dores.
Protecting Hawaiʻi‘s water
Lau and his wife Virginia established the L. Stephen Lau Water Research Scholarship endowment in 2004 to further knowledge of Hawaiʻi’s natural waters. An emeritus professor of civil engineering at UH Mānoa, Lau was director of the UH Water Resources Research Center from 1971 to 1990. The Lau scholarship is awarded every year, and its impact on students and their important work continues for much longer.
In 2017, Dores, a graduate student in geology and geophysics, received the Lau scholarship while researching groundwater resources. Dores used funds from the scholarship to analyze additional water samples, adding another layer to his research, but the benefits went beyond extra time in the lab.
“It also taught me about the history of water science in Hawaiʻi,” Dores said, “and it gave me context for my own research and how my work fit into the greater narrative of the study and protection of Hawaiʻi’s water resources. It made me feel like I was a part of something bigger: a decades-long campaign to provide one of the state’s most essential resources.”
Dores received his master’s degree in 2018 and continues to contribute to water research at UH Mānoa as a geothermal geology technician for the Hawaiʻi Institute of Geophysics and Planetology.
The Lau scholarship endowment is one of 1,591 endowed accounts at UH. Of these, 1,029 are designated for student aid.
Tim Dolan, UH vice president of advancement and UH Foundation CEO said, “In these times of uncertainty, endowments provide stability, allowing UH to believe in and plan for brighter tomorrows. Scholarship endowments keep students on their course while the landscape shifts beneath them. Researchers and professors are able to remain focused on their work, and programs continue their innovation and student development with reliable endowment funding.”
The UH Foundation endowment’s market value was $341.4 million as of June 30, 2020. The $12 million paid out that year included $5 million for student aid, $3.5 million for chairs and professorships and almost $1.6 million for faculty and academic support.
“Having a robust endowment is absolutely critical as, even in these times of flux, it continues to provide a steady income. The impact for our university and our state has been significant,” said C. Scott Wo, UH Foundation Board Investment Committee chair. “We are deeply grateful for our donors’ partnership and philanthropic investments as we navigate these times together.”