When it was announced on June 26, 2007 that Bernard A. K. S. Ho would soon take over as Damien Memorial School’s interim President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ho stated in the news release that he “wanted to build on the legacy of [retiring President] Br. Greg O’Donnell and provide the strategic direction to bring Damien Memorial to the next level of excellence in education.” Mr. Ho has certainly accomplished that with leading the school to a co-educational system and the ongoing campus expansion initiative, Campaign E Ho’opa’a. The Damien Ohana is no doubt thankful that Mr. Ho’s original one-year term was extended for nearly a decade to allow his business and financial direction of the school to hit its mark.
Indeed, Mr. Ho brought a wealth of corporate experience and diligent service to his post at Damien as he was Hawaii Medical Service Association’s (HMSA) executive Vice President from 1994 to 2005 as well as President and Chairman of the Board of Integrated Services, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of HMSA that provided medical services and health risk assessment and education programs. Mr. Ho spent a total of thirty-eight years with HMSA where he held various executive roles.
But Mr. Ho was not a newcomer to Damien’s legacy or to Catholic education when he took charge of the school. He was a member of Damien’s Board of Directors from 1996 to 2006 and its Chairman during the last four of those years. Mr. Ho is a graduate of Chaminade University of Honolulu, a school founded by the Catholic religious order Society of Mary (Marianists), where he earned an MBA in 1978. And his son, Chadwick, who is now Executive Vice President and general counsel at the popular video-streaming service, Hulu, attended Damien Memorial, graduating in 1990.
Unfortunately, Mr. Ho’s term at Damien has come to an end. In an October 2015 news release announcing his retirement, Mr. Ho said that his “tenure as President was most gratifying to witness continuous improvements in spirituality and learning among our amazing young men and women students.” He addressed these young men and women, along with their parents, faculty, staff, administration, supporters, benefactors, the Board, and alumni as the Damien Ohana. And he does so again in his farewell letter below:
Dear Damien Ohana:
We were blessed with another banner year of students’ achievement in academic and extracurricular activities which are highlighted in this Newsletter. I hope that these achievements will fill your hearts with pride and fortify your support for this wonderful learning institution.
It is often said that when you are kept busy and having fun, time marches by very quickly. This certainly has applied to me since my appointment as President of Damien Memorial School. The past nine years have been wonderful and rewarding for me because of the support I have received from all of you, our governing body and fellow employees. I will surely miss the regular school days with the sounds of energetic and happy students dashing through the halls, socializing in the cafeteria, and practicing their athletic skills in the gym and practice field.
But the time has arrived for me to devote time to family, other ministries in the Church and community service organizations. I leave with cherished and fond memories of charitable students, loving parents, and supportive alumni. Thank you for a wonderful tenure and may you continually be blessed always.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever!
With fond aloha and abundant God’s blessings,
Bernard A.K.S. Ho