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University of Hawaiʻi at ѨԴDz alumni Walter Dods, Jr. and Jay H. Shidler have gifted a sculpture by the late Bumpei Akaji to their alma mater. The sculpture, “RISE,” was installed outside the Walter Dods, Jr. RISE Center, and dedicated in a special ceremony prior to the official grand opening of the center on June 15.

large sculpture

The sculpture “RISE” was created in 1979 by Kauaʻi-born artist Bumpei Akaji as a gift for the late Masaru “Pundy” Yokouchi, founding chairperson of Hawaiʻis State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. Dods and Shidler purchased the sculpture from Yokouchis estate on Maui. Dods named it “RISE” with permission from Yokouchis family.

“I thought it’d be cool to name it RISE, and bringing it back to Metcalf Street is just incredible,” Dods said.

Akaji was one of seven local artists who attended ѨԴDz after World War II and lived at the “Metcalf Chateau,” an old house they rented in the 1950s on Metcalf Street, a short distance away from the RISE Center. Akaji, who was a member of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team during the war, stayed in Italy to study painting and sculpture before returning to attend and became one of the first to earn a masters in fine arts degree from ѨԴDz in 1952.

RISE grand opening

people sitting in a large room

The RISE building was named for Dods in honor of his gift of $5 million, which supports the RISE programs operated by the (PACE) at the ѨԴDz . The student entrepreneurship and innovation center with housing for 374 students opened in August 2023.

RISE was built under a public-private partnership between , and Hunt Companies Hawaiʻi. Foundation recently moved its headquarters to the second and third floors of the Charles Atherton House at RISE.

“This project is such a powerful example of what can happen when we innovate in our thinking and embrace creative partnerships to re-imagine our states future,” said Gov. Josh Green, MD. “These projects serve as an example that there is a way to improve facilities without relying solely on taxpayer dollars, and in s case, tuition monies.”

“We are proud that Foundation is a partner in this groundbreaking project that will nurture and inspire generations of student entrepreneurs,” said Foundation CEO Tim Dolan. “Were excited we get to work here in this historic building and grateful we get to admire this wonderful gift from Walter and Jay, the sculpture by Bumpei Akaji, every day.”

PACE Board Chair Susan Yamada noted that her first trip to the University of Utahs Lassonde Studios, which served as the model for RISE, was just seven years ago. The groundbreaking was in January 2022 and the building was completed in August 2023.

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“The journey to this grand opening was very challenging,” Yamada said. “Overcoming adversity by working as a team and persevering are traits we want our students to acquire while studying at .”

In addition to gifting the RISE sculpture to , Dods brought it from Maui to ѨԴDz with help from Matson, Royal Contracting and Island Movers, each of which donated their services.

Artist and consultant Kelly Sueda oversaw a restoration of the sculpture to its original glory, as well as the installation.

people standing in front of a large sculpture

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