By Stephen Tsai
There was a time when a school had antiquated locker rooms with no soap in the showers.
And, so, the community rallied to help the athletic department. People gave in many ways — money, of course, but also materials and volunteer time.
And then a guy — who already had donated money generously, spent thousands of dollars traveling to support the team, participated in campus cleanups, and was involved in a drive to pay for championship bracelets for the softball team — decided to offer his special talent. He built a rock garden at UH.
The rock garden isn't just about aesthetics or the product of hard work or the donation of time and money. It is a metaphor for selflessness and the aloha spirit. This was not a state-commissioned, over-funded project. In fact, it did not cost UH anything. It was one man who represented many more wanting to help.
There is talk UH will dismantle or displace the rock garden as part of a renovation. While the garden may go, the hope is the garden's intent will remain.
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Morita, a Waiakea High graduate, spent a quarter century at USC, the past 12 as the director of student services. She recently was named the Trojans' 2014 Staff Member of the Year. She previously worked as assistant to former USC head coaches Paul Hackett and Pete Carroll.
Morita is essentially No. 2 in UH's football administration, behind head coach Norm Chow, with duties that include serving as an academic liaison. She will assist in the Warriors' day-to-day administrative work. She has a doctorate in higher education.
Morita said she returned to Hawaii to be closer to her mother, who lives in Hilo.