Jericho Tobin, the inaugural recipient of the Rep. Clift Tsuji Memorial Endowed Scholarship for Hawaii Community College Agriculture Program, celebrated the gift during a luncheon recently with Tsuji’s son, Ash Tsuji; Tsuji’s former campaign manager Jack Fujii; and HCC agriculture professor Lew Nakamura.
Tobin received the scholarship this past academic year and graduated from the HCC ag program May 10.
“It’s an honor to receive this scholarship and carry on the legacy of agriculture on Hawaii Island that Rep. Tsuji cared so much about,” said Tobin, who also earned a degree in culinary arts from HCC. “This scholarship has helped me start my own farm and further my ultimate goal of opening a farm-to-table restaurant.”
Tsuji died in 2016, and served as a Hawaii Island legislator representing House District 2, including Keaukaha and parts of Hilo, Panaewa and Waiakea. Among his many positions and causes, Tsuji was chairman of the House agriculture committee and was named the Hawaii Farm Bureau’s Legislator of the Year in 2015. He was a passionate proponent of agriculture and biotechnology, a legacy that lives on in the memorial scholarship.
Friends, supporters and family members contributed more than $81,000 to fund two endowed scholarships for HCC and University of Hawaii at Hilo students pursuing degrees in agriculture.
Ash Tsuji said his father’s devotion to agriculture grew from his roots in the plantation culture of Hawaii Island, where people used the resources at hand to get by, which included relying on the land to provide produce.
“I think for him, it was always part of his lifestyle,” Ash Tsuji said. “Take care of the land, and the land will take care of you and the community.”