A Punahou Family Legacy Lives On – Frank Ching '53
Punahou fosters a deep-rooted sense of community among its many generations of students, teachers, alumni and parents. For alumnus Frank Ching '53, this enduring sense of 'ohana is also quite literal. The son of Katherine Lum, a 1927 alumna, Frank is the fourth of six children, all of them Punahou graduates.
Over the years, his appreciation has deepened as more members of his extended family have established their own valued connections to his alma mater.
"My mother was part of the first generation in her family to grow up in America, and education was something she valued a great deal," said Frank, noting that his aunt Clara Lum '29 Wong was also an alumna. "This sense of the 'specialness' of Punahou is something that she instilled in her children – it definitely carried over to me."
A dedication to education and lifelong learning inherited from his parents inspired Frank to create the Kim Ak and Katherine Lum '27 Ching Endowed Scholarship. Through the scholarship, he hopes to ensure that "all industrious, qualified students" have the same opportunities he experienced at Punahou.
"This school offers so much to do, so many different people and personalities to meet. Students realize they can achieve anything if they just set their minds to it and persevere."
Frank went on to study aeronautical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, later contributing to the nation's aerospace program in private industry as well as in government work at the NASA Ames Research Center. While he lives in California, pursuing interests in real estate and other investments, his thoughts often turn to the place that launched him on his journey.
"For me, the value of a Punahou education is that it guides students toward an understanding that they can achieve things on their own and become independent, lifelong learners," he said. "This school offers so much to do, so many different people and personalities to meet. Students realize they can achieve anything if they just set their minds to it and persevere."
Through his family scholarship, Frank is now helping a new generation of promising young scholars, paving the way to "make a Punahou education a reality for other students."