Leonard K. Fong, lifelong resident of Honolulu and long-time supporter of BYU–Hawaii, passed away in August at the age of 97. The BYU–Hawaii ‘ohana is deeply grateful for Leonard’s love and generosity toward the university, and we extend our thoughts, prayers, and aloha to the Fong family at this time.
Leonard was a member of the David O. McKay Circle (BYU–Hawaii’s principal gift donor association) and supported the university and its students for the past 25 years with regular contributions to student scholarship funds. He was also a member of the university’s Matthew Cowley Society, which comprises donors who include BYU–Hawaii in their estate plans.
Leonard learned the principle of charity at a young age from the example of his parents, Fong Hing and Alina Say Fong. Even with 16 children, the Fongs opened their home in Honolulu to hundreds of servicemen, missionaries, and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On one evening, the Fongs hosted a dinner for some 100 labor missionaries who were building the campus for the Church College of Hawaii. When the college was ready to open, the Fongs’ family-owned business donated all the mattresses, beds, and furniture for the student dormitories.
Later on, when the Fongs learned about Chinese students who wanted to come to the Church College of Hawaii but could not afford it, they began sponsoring Chinese students with tuition assistance and, in some cases, room and board in their own home, where they treated the students like family.
Continuing his family’s legacy of love and generosity, Leonard helped establish two scholarship funds at BYU–Hawaii: one that bears the name of him and his wife, Margaret, and another named in honor of his parents. “My parents instilled in me the belief that if you have the resources, you should give back to help others have opportunities for success,” Leonard said. “Supporting education is one of the best ways I know to help people who desire to better themselves.”
Several of Leonard’s siblings and children have also contributed to BYU–Hawaii for scholarships and financial aid. “As a family, we really enjoy helping the students at BYU–Hawaii attain their educational goals,” Leonard said. “I feel blessed for the opportunity I have had to make contributions over the years, knowing the students I have supported will go forward into the world with what they learn at BYU–Hawaii. I am confident that my donations are for a good purpose and are given to those in need of financial help. I appreciate knowing that the university is careful with each dollar it spends. My testimony of the good this university does for the world is strong. I am grateful to be a part of BYU–Hawaii and to have seen the university progress so much over the years.”