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Gifts in Action: Chad Tohinaka

Chad Tohinaka Business Alumni Honor Classmate’s Life Through Scholarship

 by Audrey Maynard (’03)

Alumnus Chad Tohinaka’s untimely death in a boating accident in 2012 was a tragedy that affected everyone who knew him. Last November on the first anniversary of Chad’s death, two of his fellow classmates, Skyler Bloxham (’11) and Mitch Dumke (’11), decided to honor his memory by establishing the Chad Tohinaka Scholarship. “Chad helped Skyler and me so much, and he was such an inspiration to those who knew him,” says Mitch. “We wanted to make sure that his legacy of service to others and his passion for finance would never be forgotten.”

As recent graduates, Skyler and Mitch did not personally have the $25,000 needed to endow a scholarship in Chad’s name. After giving what they could, they asked other classmates—many of whom received help from Chad when he worked in the college’s Center for Financial Analysis—to contribute to the cause. 

"Chad was in his element when he was helping fellow students with their coursework, explaining both the basics and the higher-level stuff,” Mitch says. “When you are on the receiving end of that kind of passion and enthusiasm, it’s not something you forget.”

Not surprisingly, many of Chad’s friends and former professors gave generously to the fund, and some even doubled their contribution by using the matching gift program at their companies. In a short time, there was enough in the account to create an annual scholarship in Chad’s name.

When Chad’s mother, Karen (MEd ’87), heard about the scholarship, she contributed a portion of Chad’s personal investment fund that the family had inherited upon his death. “Donating to this scholarship continues Chad’s legacy of giving back to other students,” Karen says. “He would have been so pleased to be able to help another Westminster student in this way.”

The first Chad Tohinaka Scholarship will be awarded this fall to a finance major with financial need, and Mitch and Skyler are committed to raising the remaining $14,000 to endow the scholarship in perpetuity. If you are interested in contributing to this scholarship, please contact marc Weyerstall at 801.832.2739 or



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The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.