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Aloha ‘Oe: A Parting Gift to BYU–Hawaii

December 2018

by Susan W. Tanner

Tanner's parents

My father was dying when John and I received our assignment to come to BYU– Hawaii. When we told him that we would be serving as president and wife for the university, his aged countenance visibly brightened. He was so excited for us.

Dad loved Hawaii—and not just for the typical reasons that attract visitors to its shores. His mother is the granddaughter of George Q. Cannon, one of the first and most successful missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in these islands. My grandparents began their married life together in Hawaii as missionaries in the early 1900s. My grandfather served as branch president in Hilo, and they also attended and spoke at one of the dedicatory sessions of the Laie Hawaii Temple in 1919. My grandparents shared their love for the wonderful Hawaiian people and beautiful islands with my dad, me, and all their grandchildren.

Dad’s joy for John and me prompted him to share some delightful news with us: he and my mother were members of BYU–Hawaii’s Matthew Cowley Society, meaning that they had designated some of their estate—my inheritance—to be donated to BYU–Hawaii after they passed away.

This thrilling news taught me once more of their love for Hawaii and their commitment to Church education for young people worldwide. Now that John and I are serving at BYU–Hawaii, we see how much good is accomplished by generous donors who set aside funds for future students.

After my father and mother passed away and their donation was received by the university, I was overcome with gratitude for their goodness. BYU–Hawaii gave me the privilege of choosing how the funds would be used, and I knew that Dad and Mom would want the money to go directly to students in need to help them receive a much-desired and hard-earned education.

My parents left a legacy of continual service and generosity that extended beyond their passing. They have motivated John and me to try to be more like them in every way, including to become members of the Matthew Cowley Society by making a planned gift to BYU– Hawaii. It doesn’t require great wealth but simply wise planning.

To learn about how you can make a planned gift to BYU–Hawaii, email, visit, or call 1-877-650-5377.

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