A Gift from Goo


Even before he had graduated from ‘Iolani School, Mr. Melvin Goo ’66 had already discovered his lifelong mission.

At the beginning of his senior year in 1965, Mr. Goo devised a plan for The Honolulu Advertiser to cover local student life. The editors were so impressed that they tasked him with managing a section on high school news in the Sunday edition of the paper. As those editors mentored him,  Mr. Goo learned the importance of empowering young people to become leaders in their communities through  excellence in writing.

This passion for writing continued as he pursued his B.A. in political science at the University of Washington, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1970 as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.During his time in college, he secured notable internships at the Washington Post, Newsweek, the San Francisco Examiner, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

In 1976, Mr. Goo received a  prestigious Nieman Fellowship to study at Harvard University. He followed up this achievement by winning a National Humanities fellowship in foreign policy, which led him to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978. 

Mr. Goo went on to enjoy a long, distinguished career as a journalist. He began as an intern for the Honolulu Advertiser, where he later served as an editor and editorial writer. After moving to Asia in 1990, he became the chief news editor for the Nikkei Weekly and then the editor-in-chief of Taiwan News years later.

Despite his many prestigious awards and positions, one might argue that Mr. Goo’s  most meaningful endeavor was an essay titled “A Case for Coeducation,” which was featured in The Headmaster’s Column of the ‘Iolani School Bulletin. In the essay, Mr. Goo cogently stated the case for admitting female students to ‘Iolani, outlining the social and academic arguments that set the stage for increased diversity in the coming years. Headmaster David Coon himself said, “Mel, in my opinion, states the case in a far better way than I could.”

Mr. Goo longed for the values of diversity and equality to serve as foundational pieces of the ‘Iolani experience. As he considered his vision for the school, he decided to leave a legacy gift to his alma mater. Mr. Goo included an endowment gift to ‘Iolani School in his living trust that he directed be used to create The Melvin M.S. Goo ’66 Endowment Fund for Excellence in Writing. The endowment’s purpose is “to stimulate and support student writing,” specifically encouraging the production of works that foster tolerance and inclusion.

Mr. Goo passed away in 2016, but his mission lives on. The purpose of his endowment fund has become even more prevalent in today’s world. ‘Iolani is beyond appreciative of Mr. Goo’s legacy gift, which will both honor Mr. Goo’s memory and nurture young Raiders with a knack for written expression.