Garden dedicated at UH Hilo ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Posted: Oct 15, 2008

"The lives of Mr. and Mrs. Wong were, in many ways, synonymous with the history of Hilo over the last century. As a Chinese-American myself, it gives me great pride to see what an important force the Chinese community has always been in Hilo." - Rose Tseng, Chancellor, UH Hilo

Community members attended a special ceremony on September 26 at the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center on the campus of UH Hilo to dedicate a garden and honor the memory of Betsy Nip Wong and Kenneth Aloiau Wong. Graduates of UH Mānoa and life members of the UH Alumni Association, Mr. and Mrs. Wong were prominent members of the Hilo community for 68 years, Mr. Wong working as an engineer and businessman and Mrs. Wong as a public school teacher.

The garden was named in honor of the Wongs through a gift made to ʻImiloa at the time of its opening in 2006, by their children, Sybil Wong Kyi of Honolulu, Sharlyn Wong Rayment of Oregon, and Kenneth A. Wong, Jr. of California. Mrs. Wong was an avid gardener who spent many fulfilling days creating Hawaiian gardens at her homes. The Wong Garden at ʻImiloa focuses on indigenous plants used for medicinal purposes and is part of a 4.2 acre landscape which offers visitors an opportunity to explore Hawaiʻi‘s rich native ecosystem.

Joining family members at the dedication ceremony were representatives from UH Hilo, and leaders of several of the local organizations in which the Wongs played active roles: the Waiakea Lions Club, the Retired Seniors Volunteers Program, the Chinese Civic Association and the Department of Education.

For information on other garden naming opportunities at the ʻImiloa Center, please contact Nico Verissimo in the UH Foundation Membership and Fund Development Office at (808) 969-9732.