Wo International Center

History and Giving


The Wo International Center has its roots in the 1960s, when Sigfried Ramler founded the Foundation for Study in Hawai'i and Abroad.

In the early 1990s, Mr. Ramler was asked by Punahou President Rod McPhee to shape the vision and implementation of an international center. With a generous gift from Jim ’43 and Bob ’41, a dedicated facility was built in 1993. The 150-seat Luke Lecture Hall, honors a major gift by K. J. Luke and his family. The Center currently houses the Luke Lecture Hall, the Luke Center for Chinese Studies, the Siegfried Ramler Conference Room, three classrooms, and office space for Wo International Center program administration as well as for the Advancement Department.

When Sig Ramler retired in 1996, Bob Torrey and Hope Staab became co-directors of the Wo International Center. When Mr. Torrey retired, Ms. Staab became the Director in 1998 and built a program that has enjoyed national and international recognition.

For over 25 years, the Wo International Center has worked to integrate global education as a core part of the Punahou student experience. Our vision for Punahou students is that they will become global citizens equipped with the skills, attitudes, and knowledge required to flourish and to lead within an interdependent global society.

Jim ’43 and Bob ’41 Wo

Jim ’43 and Bob ’41 Wo were a team in many aspects of their lives. After working together to take over and transform the family business, C. S. Wo and Sons, they continued their partnership in commitment to community organizations. The brothers’ exposure to worldwide business led them to support global studies opportunities for students throughout Hawai‘i. In addition to the Wo family's generosity, Jim served as a Punahou Trustee from 1970 until 2001, acting in a number of leadership capacities.


List of 4 items.

  • The Akio and Yoshiko Morita Endowment for International Studies

    The endowment, with its overall themes of technology and international study, supports creative ideas from inspired faculty and other school leaders:

    • Changing technology needs of language study and global communication
    • International cultural resource programs including music, art, drama, folklore
    • "Morita Scholars" program for student exchange program development or scholarships
    • "Morita Fellows" program for faculty development or exchange programs
  • The Edward E. Ford Foundation and the Education Research Initiative

    Funding from these two organizations supports the Student Global Leadership Institute, a two-week program that develops a community of international student leaders to work collaboratively on initiatives for social change.
  • The Freeman Foundation

    The Freeman Foundation has provided program and scholarship funding since 2002, supporting Wo International Center initiatives focusing on alliances with Asia – student and teacher programs that promote growth, leadership, and a deeper understanding between the United States and Asia.
  • Other Funds

    Hope Staab Global Education Fund
    Adventures in Japanese Textbook Fund
    Bernice Ching Wo Fund (sister of Jim and Robert Wo)
    Ben and Miriam Lau Fund (sister of Jim and Robert Wo)
    Frank Ching '53 and Charley Kearns Student International Travel Fund
    Lianne Yee '77 Liu Endowed Fund
    Frank Boas International Fund
    Reford-McCandless International Studies
    Foundation for the Studies in Hawaii and Abroad
    Class of 1943 Gift (Jim Wo)
    Andy & Kay Ichiki Memorials
    Clyde Kaneshiro
    Man Sing & Man Hing Au
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