Donor Stories

Greg '87 and Keala Francis '88 Dickhens – Friendships for Life

By Suzanne Sato '67
Greg '87 and Keala Francis '88 Dickhens moved back home to Hawai'i together eight years ago. Though they knew each other in high school, Keala explains that, "It was a Punahou classmate of Greg's – Dan Glober '87 – who put us back in touch." These lifelong friendships are the core of their tie to the School.
"A lot of our friends were high school friends – our community is formed by the friendships we made at Punahou," Greg continues. "One of the primary drivers of moving back to Hawai'i was to allow our kids to grow up in the same environment that we did."
 
A graduate of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration and UCLA's Anderson School of Business, Greg is president of Kyo-ya Pacific Company LLC, with offices in the Sheraton Waikiki. In fact, his first home in Hawai'i was at the Sheraton. When Greg was in the fourth grade, his family moved here from Los Angeles and his father became hotel manager of the Sheraton. "I never imagined that I would be back in this hotel," he says.

Keala is also a graduate of UCLA and the Anderson School. She began her professional life in alumni relations at Georgetown University, so she appreciates the strength of Punahou's alumni ties. Their Punahou relationships are the underpinnings of the Dickhens' active engagement in reunion giving. "For us, it wasn't just about giving back – it was also about thanking."

"Punahou prepares you to explore the world and in exploring it, you come back and appreciate the people at Punahou even more."

Greg chaired the Class of 1987 Reunion Committee and said that his classmates were eager to participate. Many were inspired to add to the Kawika Fairbanks '88 Endowed Scholarship Fund, a way to "extend his legacy, and also to enable someone to attend Punahou." Keala was also active in planning the Class of 1988's 25th reunion and in encouraging participation in the fundraising for the renovation of Alexander Field.

Currently a Ph.D. candidate in English at UH – Manoa, Keala appreciates the diversity of Punahou's curriculum, which she describes as enabling students to find their passions. "Punahou prepares you to explore the world and in exploring it, you come back and appreciate the people at Punahou even more," the Dickhens conclude. "We want to help provide that opportunity for others."
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