Rich and Eileen Wacker

Former bank chairman Rich Wacker and his wife Eileen pledged to donate $ 250,000 to the University of Hawaii Foundation in support of the EUH Mānoa residences for innovative student entrepreneurs (TO AUGMENT), a world-class innovation and entrepreneurship center coupled with student accommodation on the site of the former Atherton YMCA opposite the flagship campus.

Atherton rendering
Render of the Atherton building

The community live-learn-work at TO AUGMENT will be operated by the EUH Manoa Shidler College of Business Asia Pacific Center for Entrepreneurship (RHYTHM).

“We believe that this project is a clear and demonstrative statement by the university of its commitment to entrepreneurship, innovation and the diversification of the economy of Hawaii for our children and for the community, ”said Rich Wacker, President of the EUH Board of directors of the foundation. “What’s unique about it is the life, work and study aspect – it’s unique among universities across the country. “

Rich Wacker is also a current member and past chair of the RHYTHM Hawaii Pacific Health Board of Directors and Vice Chairman. He was president and CEO of American Savings Bank for over 10 years and former chairman of the Hawaii Bankers Association. He is a past president and current president of innovation at the Hawaii Business roundtable and the Hawaii Executive collaborators CASH innovation economics chair.

Eileen Wacker is the author of a series of children’s books and founder of ONCE Children, a children’s literacy project. She is a member of the board of directors of Kapi’olani Health foundation for Kapi’olani Women’s and Children’s Medical Center and former Assets School board member in Honolulu. The Wackers are parents of four children, the youngest of whom just entered college this fall.

“Our main passion is for the next generation of people in Hawaii to think differently in a more interdisciplinary way and to be trained in the uncertainty that we are all going to face in the business environment, ”said Eileen Wacker. “We don’t see it as a gift but as an investment because it is what we would like our children to have.”

The Wackers’ donation is one of the largest individual donations to RHYTHMthe goal of raising $ 3 million to fund the TO AUGMENT furnishings, facilities and equipment of the center as well as operational programs and scholarships during the first 10 years.

“Mahalo to Rich and Eileen for this generous personal commitment which reflects their dedication to giving back to the Hawaii community, ”said Tim Dolan, CEO of EUH Foundation and EUH vice president of advancement. “We are grateful for their forward-thinking philanthropy and their investment not only in EUH students, but in Hawaiithe innovation economy of tomorrow.

building being demolished
Exterior demolition began on September 28

Exterior demolition of the existing Mary Atherton Richards House at the corner of University and Seaview avenues began on Tuesday, September 28 and is expected to be completed in November. The interior demolition of the historic Charles Atherton Rose House and its additional wings will follow.

The grand opening of the new, modern six-story building, which will extend behind the Charles Atherton House, is scheduled for January. Once completed in 2023, TO AUGMENT will have 7,263 square feet of versatile co-work, meeting, laboratory and classroom space, as well as 374 dormitory beds for undergraduate and graduate students.

The $ 70 million project is being developed by a public-private partnership between EUH, Hunt Development Group and the EUH Foundation, which purchased the one-acre site on University Avenue in 2017 for $ 8 million. The tax-free bond financing will be repaid using the dorm fees; no taxpayer funds are used for the project.

Moss is the general contractor for the project, The Wilhelm Group is the construction manager and Design Partners Inc. is the principal architect.