KAHULUI - A longtime University of Hawaii Maui College professor is pledging to give the school faculty a six-figure donation upon his death.
Recently retired English professor Vincent "Vinnie" Linares, an outspoken advocate for the college faculty, is providing a life estate donation to provide grants for faculty and professional development.
If the donation were given today, the amount would be more than $200,000, Linares said. The faculty will receive one-third the value of Linares' property and home when he dies, he said.
'I’m giving back. My career on Maui, to me, has been spectacular. Maui embraced me. This is about the only way I can give back.' - Vincent Linares
UH-Maui College photo
"I'm giving back. My career on Maui, to me, has been spectacular. Maui embraced me. This is about the only way I can give back," said the Hartford, Conn., native who began teaching at the college in 1975.
Linares, a Kula resident, encouraged others to do the same. Donors also benefit from the donation, he pointed out, saying he will receive a tax break for several years. He didn't know details, but indicated the tax benefit would help him with loans and a mortgage.
University of Hawaii Foundation Maui Director Cordy MacLaughlin said that charitable estate and income tax planning is a "powerful way to fulfill one's philanthropic goals" because it provides support to the college and generates financial and tax benefits to a donor and his or her family.
Linares' donation was announced last month during the 2010 UHMC convocation.
Linares said that when he dies the interest from his donation will be given out annually to faculty and staff members to use at their discretion, whether it be for travel, equipment, time off or buying books. The donations will come from a fund in the Linares family name.
"There is never enough money for faculty, especially living on a Neighbor Island. There is never enough money to do things to stay relevant," he said.
Linares added that a faculty senate committee will have control over the funds, not the college administration, so educators can make decisions for educators.
He thanked Lorraine Tamaribuchi, the first director of Institutional Advancement at what was then known as Maui Community College. She also took care of fundraising, and her efforts inspired him to donate to the college.
Linares retired after teaching summer school at the college. He is a world traveler who has been active in the Maui community, especially in theater where he writes, directs and acts in productions.
"Thirty-five years is a long time," he said of his college teaching career. "There's an adage, get out when you're still good."
At 65 years old, Linares said he can retire and will still teach on the college and high school levels and in the community.
He would like to continue to teach online for the University of Hawaii and is developing an online tutoring service of his own to assist others in writing. He is already working with a teacher from Seabury Hall to start up an intensive writing summer program for high school students.
He will work with his former employer, the Peace Corps, as a training director. In that capacity, he will travel the world, instructing the corps' English teachers.
"My teaching is not over. I'm just retired from the college," he said.
Linares plans to stay busy in local theater, which he says keeps him sane. He is known around the world for portraying Father Damien, now Saint Damien, in a one-man show.
Linares came to Maui in 1975, after receiving his master's degree in applied linguistics at the UH-Manoa on Oahu. As a graduate student on Oahu in 1973, he also taught English to the East-West Center and other grantees at the school. Later, he took a chance in accepting a year-to-year job at MCC. Linares said he had a full-time job offer but took the one on Maui instead, even though it wasn't permanent.
"It was the best decision I ever made in my life. Maui no ka oi. It really is. I was really embraced by this island, by a lot of people, local people who tried to teach me to walk the fine line between being a Mainlander and respecting the local culture."
Prior to his arrival in the islands, Linares spent three years in the Peace Corps in Micronesia from 1968 to 1971 and then remained in the region from 1971 to 1973 as the director of an English program for 54 schools covering more than 30,000 square miles.
Linares is single and still has family back in Connecticut, including his 85-year-old mother.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews. com.