Each year, generous donors establish more than two dozen new endowed funds that have a remarkable cumulative impact on Punahou in perpetuity. The earliest financial aid endowed fund dates back to 1869. Today, there are almost 1,000 funds of all sizes that help the School fulfill its educational mission while honoring people with deep ties to Punahou. Here’s a look at the namesakes behind three of our endowed funds.
Carl R. and Lyn K. Ackerman Endowed Fund
In 2020, when Carl and Lyn Ackerman retired after 30 years of serving Hawai‘i’s youth through education, their daughter Dr. Laura K.G. Ackerman-Biegasiewicz ’05, decided to honor her parents by establishing an endowed fund.
Initially meant as a surprise, she ultimately enlisted her mother in the planning. Carl taught history in the Punahou Academy for 28 years, ran the Russian club and served as an assistant coach for the softball team. In 2005, he launched the Clarence T. C. Ching PUEO (Partnerships in Unlimited Educational Opportunities) program at Punahou, serving as its director for 15 years. In 2020, he published a well-received book based on his PUEO experiences, called, “A Success Story in Public Education: The Clarence T.C. Ching PUEO Program at Punahou School.”
In launching PUEO, Carl built partnerships with scores of schools and community organizations to create a summer program aimed at helping public school students with high academic potential but low economic opportunities. PUEO continues to flourish at Punahou, providing students meaningful mentorship and educational opportunities they might otherwise not receive.
Following a decade with the Department of Education and Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Lyn also taught at Punahou as an elementary summer school teacher, drama instructor and teacher supervisor for the PUEO program. Laura and her sister, Jennifer ’20, hope the Fund will continually remind everyone of the hard work their parents devoted to PUEO and to educating young people.
On Aug. 6, 2021, Laura organized a Zoom retirement party, gathering more than 40 close friends and colleagues, and surprised her father by announcing the Carl R. and Lyn K. Ackerman Endowed Fund, inviting others to add to the fund to provide support for the PUEO Program. In one month, the fund doubled. Laura plans to continue adding to the fund in her parents’ honor over the years to celebrate her parents’ lifelong dedication to ensuring educational opportunity for all.
Allan ’53 and Joan Burns Endowed Financial Aid Fund
Allan Burns ’53 was a leading television writer in the heyday of the sitcom, best known as co-creator of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its spinoffs, “Lou Grant” and “Rhoda.” Respected and well-loved throughout his lifetime, he passed away early this year, in January, in Los Angeles.
“Allan’s range was like nobody’s. I don’t think you ever get an absurdist, a legitimate humorist and a feeling person in one package,” lifelong friend and creative partner, James Brooks, told The New York Times.
When Burns was 12, he and his mother moved to Hawai‘i, where his brother was stationed at Pearl Harbor. He enrolled at Punahou in eighth grade on financial aid. Throughout his life, he frequently reminisced about his gratitude to transition from a strict all-boys military school to a coeducational and creative school like Punahou.
He credited Punahou for his development as a writer. He and his wife, Joan Bailey, had two sons, Eric and Matt. Joan had attended Punahou summer school in 1958, and understood the School’s importance in Allan’s life. “To have something as unique as Punahou in common made us kindred spirits from the start,” she said.
Profoundly connected to Punahou, Allan co-founded the Southern California chapter of the Punahou Alumni Association, and he and Joan hosted many alumni events over the years.
After his passing, Joan decided to establish an endowed fund in Allan’s name and reached out to Allan’s many colleagues in the film and television industry to help her create the Allan ’53 and Joan Burns Endowed Financial Aid Fund, which now funds several financial aid awards at Punahou.
In July, Joan and their sons, grandchildren, friends and several of Allan’s classmates gathered at the Outrigger Canoe Club to celebrate Allan’s life and paddled out to the share him with the ocean and Islands he loved so dearly.
Bob Young ’50 Endowed Fund
Many alumni discover and nurture a lifelong passion at Punahou, like photographer Bob Young ’50. He covered historic events and everyday life during more than 20 years on assignment for Honolulu daily newspapers, winning several awards, including a Pulitzer nomination. A pioneer in surfing photography, he was noted by aficionados for his photos catching surfers in the curl at a time when that was rare and getting into the water, rather than shooting from a board or boat. He was proud of having captured Eddie Aikau on his first day at Sunset.
Like many other alumni, Young discovered his lifelong passion for photography while a student at Punahou. As a student photographer for Ka Punahou, he gained an appreciation for inquiry and image.
Born and raised in Wahiawa, he went on from Punahou to Yale, where he was the photo editor of the Yale Daily News, then edited by a young William F. Buckley, who founded National Review.
During his storied career as a photojournalist in Hawai‘i, Young captured a cross section of life through his lens. Quiet and self-effacing, he was present at major historic events, such as President John F. Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech at the Berlin Wall in 1963, and continued to work as a freelance photographer throughout Asia and Europe.
After leaving the Star-Bulletin in the ’80s, he became a full-time parent to Tara ’93 and her brother, Kevin, and took them on far-flung travels. “He approached the world with a constant sense of wonder,” Tara said. “My dad had a unique talent for connecting with people and telling their stories through image. His body of work shows life in Hawai‘i over a period of 50 years.”
Bob passed away in 2009, and the Bob Young ’50 Endowed Fund was established in his memory by Tara and her partner, Avi Mannis, in 2017. Tara hopes that this fund and her father’s story will inspire future students to realize the transformative power of truth captured in pictures or words by supporting journalism and student publications at Punahou.