In a recent trip to the island nation of Samoa, University President John S.K. Kauwe III and First Lady Monica Kauwe met with prospective students, community leaders, and academic officials to further the university's mission in the Pacific.
This trip to Samoa is just the first of many visits to Oceania and the Asian Rim in future months and years for the university president. For some time now, it's been a pursuit of President and Monica Kauwe to visit the home countries of their students in the Pacific and Asian rim. Their goal is to better understand their students' temporal and spiritual needs and see firsthand what academic programs would benefit the cities and villages their students call home.
Kicking off their trip with a devotional at the Lotopa Stake Center on the island of Upolu, the Kauwe's were greeted with hundreds of attendees eagerly awaiting their address an hour before it began. Members of the congregation even filled the chapel overflow and outside hallways to hear about the possibilities of a brighter future provided through higher education.
The Kauwes also visited schools and interacted with the students throughout their trip. In speaking on these experiences, President Kauwe stated, "The students were impressive. Their desire to learn and represent themselves and their family and school was really exciting to see." Topics of interest included the IWORK scholarship program, a unique work-study program that currently supports 46% of students at BYU–Hawaii. Also spotlighted was the BYU-Pathway Worldwide partnership as a precursor of online courses or an alternative to expanding educational opportunities in remote places such as Samoa.
President and Monica also nurtured relationships with leaders that educate most of BYU–Hawaii's Samoan applicants. In meeting with them, President Kauwe said the following, "The leadership of the individual schools, the church leaders, and the university leaders were all incredible people who are so gifted and so intellectually strong and also so committed to serving the students in their stewardship."
These leaders were also grateful and honored to host the Kauwes and further connect their people to the educational resources and possibilities offered at BYU–Hawaii. This connection extended to prospective students and their parents. They carried a powerful message of hope that captivated the communities they visited and left those in their path feeling motivated and loved.
The Kauwes look forward to future trips and opportunities to share the university's mission, to prepare students of Oceania and the Asian Rim to be lifelong disciples of Jesus Christ and leaders in their families, communities, chosen fields, and in building the kingdom of God.