Building on Representative Clifton Tsuji’s legacy of giving back to the Hawai‘i Island community, 159 friends, supporters and family members raised $81,000 to fund endowed scholarships for Hawai‘i CC and UH Hilo students pursuing degrees in agriculture.
Clifton Tsuji’s son Ryan Kalei Tsuji shared, "My dad loved his job and viewed it as an honor to service the people of the Big Island as a state representative. There were many things he was passionate about but there is no doubt that agriculture in Hawai‘i and supporting this industry was something that really resonated with him. We are so thankful to the many donors and supporters who contributed to this endowment scholarship. Our hope is that through this scholarship we can continue his passion and commitment to making a difference in the community even after his passing."
"Hawai'i Community College is honored to be a recipient of generous contributions from the supporters of the late Rep. Clift Tsuji," said Hawai'i Community College Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas. "This scholarship fund is a testament to his legacy of service and commitment to the community. For a community to give back to the next generation of learners is an amazing statement on why this island is so special."
UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney added, “I learned so much from Clift Tsuji about Hilo, Hawai‘i Island and agriculture. This scholarship will ensure that, for years to come, many students will continue to learn from his legacy.”
Clift Tsuji was a Hawai‘i Island State Representative and an alumnus of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Born and raised in Papaikou, Tsuji was a graduate of Hilo High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from UH Mānoa’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences. He also attended the University of Washington, Pacific Coast Banking School.
Tsuji served in the U.S. Army Reserve, 442nd Infantry, Company B, Hilo, from 1959–1965.
Representing House District 2 including Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Pana‘ewa and Waiākea, Tsuji was chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and was named the Hawai‘i Farm Bureau’s Legislator of the Year in 2015. He was a passionate proponent of agriculture and biotechnology.
He was also active with the Hilo Medical Center Foundation, Hawai‘i Island Japanese Community Association, Pacific Tsunami Museum, Hiroshima Kenjin Kai, Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce, and the Kumamoto Kenjin Kai.