Maui Business

UH Alumnus Establishes $100,000 Endowment

September 25, 2018, 3:16 AM HST
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University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Shidler College of Business alumnus Christopher Helm and wife Debra have established a $100,000 endowment through the Helm Family Trust to endow the David Bess Leadership Award. Each year, the award is presented to a promising student leader at the college’s Business Night event.

Since 1994, the couple has given more than $50,000 to fund the David Bess Leadership Award. With this new endowment, the college will now be able to fund this award in perpetuity.

For Helm, this gift is a profound way of giving back to his alma mater. “In my second year at the Shidler College of Business, I was fortunate to be selected to represent the college on the Keio University MBA exchange program,” he said. “I was only able to attend thanks to the generosity of the Lum Yip Kee Family who provided a scholarship to help cover the program and travel costs. So it is now my turn to give back.”

“Deb and I established the David Bess Leadership Award 24 years ago to honor my dean, my mentor and our friend, David Bess,” says Helm. “We are extremely happy and excited to establish this endowment that will annually recognize future student leaders of the Shidler College of Business.”

Bess was dean at the Shidler College of business from 1981 to 1998, and a professor from 1998 to 2017.


Helm was born and raised in South Africa and later moved to England to finish high school. He graduated with honors from the University of Reading in Berkshire, England, with a BSc in Agricultural Economics. Ten years later, in 1991, he earned an MBA from Shidler College of Business.


Helm has lived and worked in seven states, as well as in China and Hong Kong. His love for Hawai‘i and UH brought him and Debra back to Honolulu in 2003, when he took a position in the Office of the Vice President of Research for the UH System. He has lectured in various Shidler College of Business Executive MBA classes before returning back to the business world as a commercial director for a Hawai‘i-based biotechnology company.

Helm is the executive vice president of Global Business Development for Longhorn Vaccines and Diagnostics LLC in Bethesda, Maryland, which just received Food and Drug Administration clearance for one of its technologies.

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