$600K gift puts business college’s computer lab on cutting-edge

chairs and desks

A blessing was held at the University of Hawaiiʻi at Mānoa’s Shidler College of Business on August 11 to celebrate the completed renovation of the Tom WS Hee Undergraduate Computer Room into a state-of-the-art facility. The $600,000 lab renovation was funded from the estate of Clifford and Blanche Hee and named in honor of their son Tom Heewho was an admired alumnus of the college and an accomplished banking professional, computer expert and community-minded volunteer.

people standing in a room

Lab upgrades include a full refresh and modernization of the space, with sleek new furnishings, upgraded computer systems, sound dampening technology, large digital displays and flexible working spaces designed specifically for group collaboration. Additional Bloomberg terminals were added for students to conduct high-level financial analysis projects. The renovation was managed by Bowers + Kubota Consulting, which transformed the space to evoke a modern yet functional workspace for current and future students.

“The transformation of this highly-used student space is amazing to witness,” said Shidler College of Business Dean Vance Roley. “Every day, students rely on the computer room for projects, group work, research and more, and they now have a modern, functional space to be proud of. We’re grateful for the Hee family’s generosity and are honored to be able to commemorate alumnus Tom Hee in such a meaningful way.”

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“I am delighted that Shidler will be dedicating this new Undergraduate Computer Lab for current and future students,” said Tony Ching, trustee and brother of Blanche Hee. “Although my nephew Tom Hee lived with many challenges, he never allowed these obstacles to define his life. While Tom and his parents are not here to witness the transformation, I know that they are celebrating the advent of ideas and technology being pooled together to make for learning and enhancement of our community.”

“It’s heartwarming to see the Hee family’s legacy of giving to honor their son’s memory expand to upgrading a much-used computer lab that will benefit hundreds of Shidler undergraduate students starting with the new school year,” said Team Dolan, UH vice president of advancement and CEO of UH Foundation. “Their generosity, which has already been in scholarships for more than a dozen Shidler students, ensures Tom’s legacy will support even more students going forward.”

Hee gift honors sons

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Clifford and Blanche Hee first established an endowed scholarship in 2002 in honor of their sons Tom and Michael Hee, who unfortunately predeceased their parents due to complications arising from hemophilia. The estate later committed to a $2 million bequest to the college to support additional student scholarships as well as the modernization and naming of the Undergraduate Computer Room to further honor Tom Hee’s leadership and legacy.

Tom Hee graduated in 1978 with a degree in accounting and management information systems. During his academic career, he co-founded the Management Information Systems club and received the outstanding senior in management information systems award at Business Night. He enjoyed a successful career rising to vice president in the controller’s division at First Hawaiian Bank. Tom Hee selflessly served the community as president of the Hawaiiʻi Jaycees and the Honolulu Marathon Association. He was a staunch advocate and volunteer for the Hemophilia Foundation. Tom was also the founder and co-owner of Star Computer.