$2 million gift to the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge

University of Hawaiʻi
Margot Schrire, (808) 956-6774
Director of Communications, University of Hawaii Foundation
Posted: Jun 29, 2011

Donna Vuchinich, Virginia Hinshaw, Judith Pyle, Wayne Pitluck, Maenette Ah Nee-Benham
Donna Vuchinich, Virginia Hinshaw, Judith Pyle, Wayne Pitluck, Maenette Ah Nee-Benham
HONOLULU—Judith Pyle, a successful business executive, University of Hawai‘i Foundation board trustee and philanthropist, has made a $2 million pledge to establish an endowed dean’s position at the UH Mānoa Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge. Pending Board of Regents’ approval, this fund will be known as the Judith Dion Pyle Dean’s Chair in the Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge.
“How exciting this gift is for the future of our newest school Hawai‘inuiākea–established in 2007, creating one of the largest and already leading schools of indigenous knowledge in the nation,” noted UH Mānoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw. “In 2008, we were blessed to recruit Maenette Benham as our inaugural dean–a dynamic, talented leader who is generating exciting partnerships across the campus and with the broader community. Judy, along with her husband, Wayne Pitluck, has a passion for preserving and promoting Native Hawaiian culture. They both clearly respect the great potential and high priority of this endeavor for UH Mānoa and for Hawai‘i," said Hinshaw. "Now she has stepped forward to ensure its success by endowing the dean’s position. Many will benefit from her vision and generosity.”
The fund will be used at the dean’s discretion to advance the mission of Hawai‘inuiākea, benefit from opportunities that may arise to enhance its mission, and support its priorities, goals and mission.
“It takes a very special person, with insight and a spirit of generosity, to make such a gracious endowment,” said Maenette Ah Nee-Benham, dean, Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge. “I am truly honored that Judy shares our vision of a healthy and vibrant Hawai‘inuiākea, where indigenous scholarship, learning and teaching, and community engagement, inspire our faculty and students. Her gift will help us grow in our continued efforts to build a Knowledge Well of Hawaiian knowing, in particular supporting Ka Waihona A Ke Aloha [Mele Institute in Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language] and supporting Hawai‘inuiākea Publishing [a partnership with the University of Hawai‘i Press].” She concluded, “This gift will assist us as we continue to grow our work of community engagement, which will help us engage in community development in our Native Hawaiian communities.”
Examples of how the fund may be used include retaining and recruiting qualified faculty, supporting research that is in accordance with the school’s mission, and supporting the use of knowledge gained by the school to perpetuate Hawaiian culture and community.
“During our time in Hawai‘i, my husband, Wayne Pitluck, and I have developed the deepest love and respect for the Native Hawaiian culture,” said Pyle. “We are constantly learning about this immensely rich, living culture, and it has greatly enriched my family’s life.” She continued, “I have tremendous confidence in Dean Maenette Ah Nee-Benham, Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw and UH Foundation president and CEO Donna Vuchinich, and I trust that this gift will be well stewarded so it can support the school in its important work for many years to come.”
Hinshaw noted, “My heart is truly full of gratitude, optimism, and love as we celebrate this great Mānoa Moment. Judy Pyle has been a very special person in my life for over 20 years–I know well her wonderfully giving nature. Her generous gift to our Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge reflects passions she and I also share–advancing Native Hawaiian culture, supporting women leaders and investing in higher education for Hawai‘i.”
Pyle is currently the president (member and manager) of Judith Dion Pyle & Associates, LLC, located in Middleton, Wis., a family office serving as her financial service company managing trusts and personal and business interests. Pyle previously held the position of vice chair of the board of directors of The Pyle Group, LLC, a Madison, Wis., financial services company that oversees small- and medium-sized companies it has purchased or in which it has made investments.
Prior to her senior position at The Pyle Group, Pyle served as vice chair of the board and senior vice president of corporate marketing of the Rayovac Corporation, a leading worldwide company in the dry cell battery, hearing aid, flashlight and lithium battery market located in Madison, Wis. Prior to joining Rayovac, Pyle was senior vice president of worldwide marketing and product development for Elizabeth Arden in New York, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical Company.
Pyle serves as a board member or a trustee of several private and public companies and many foundations, arts and philanthropic organizations, including:
  • Alliant Energy Corporation, Madison, Wis.
  • University of Madison School of Human Ecology, Madison, Wis.
  • Trustee University Hawai‘i Foundation, Honolulu, Hawai‘i
  • The Contemporary Museum of Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawai‘i
  • Uniek, Inc., Waunakee, Wis.
  • National Council for the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, N.M.
  • International Women’s Forum
Pyle earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees in fine arts at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has also completed advanced management programs at Harvard and the University of Virginia. In 1989, Judith received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
For more information on how you can support the Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, please contact Emily Fay at (808) 956-5665 or Emily.Fay@uhfoundation.org. You can also make a gift online at www.uhfoundation.org/GiveToHawaiianKnowledge.
The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. Our mission is to unite our donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations to benefit the people of Hawai‘i and beyond. We do this by raising private philanthropic support, managing private investments and nurturing donor and alumni relationships. www.uhfoundation.org
The Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge is the newest school at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. We recognize the unique status of the Native Hawaiian people and recognize their unique connection to these forms of knowledge by encouraging, supporting, facilitating, and ensuring the incorporation of Native Hawaiians at all levels of the university. We seek to accomplish this mission with a Native Hawaiian perspective that recognizes the holistic aspects of this knowledge, its diversities, and the importance of practical applications. Our mission is to apply this knowledge to provide service and support to the Hawaiian community, as well as extending this knowledge outward from the academy and the community, into the Pacific and other international domains. http://manoa.hawaii.edu/hshk/index.php/site/en/
Photo Caption: From left to right, Donna Vuchinich, president & CEO, UH Foundation; Virginia Hinshaw, chancellor, UH Mānoa; Judith Pyle and Wayne Pitluck; Maenette Ah Nee-Benham, dean, Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge.
Photo by: Jeannie Pinpin, UH Foundation