Dr. Ruth Lani Stemmermann was born in Hilo on September 7, 1952. She spent her childhood years on the Big Island where she graduated from the Hawai‘i School of Girls in 1970. Her undergraduate studies took her to Pitzer College in Claremont, California where in 1974 she earned a B.A. degree in Botany. Upon her acceptance to the University of Hawai‘i for graduate studies in botany, she received a two-year research assistantship with Dr. C. H. Lamoureaux. In 1976 she continued her graduate work as a teaching assistant in the UH Mānoa Botany Department. Lani received her M.S. degree in Botanical Sciences for anatomical and taxonomic studies of Hawaiian sandalwood, and subsequently published two papers in Pacific Science as a result of her thesis work.
UH Professional Assembly Executive Director Dr. J. N. Musto said, “Over the years UHPA has made contributions to the UH Foundation in support of students and faculty, often in response to matching contributions made by faculty members to scholarships.” Musto continued, “This contribution reflects the wishes of David Duffy who has foregone a part-time paid leave of absence as UHPA President and requested that the funds be used to establish the Lani Stemmermann Endowment. This truly represents an extraordinarily generous act by David, and an expression of collaboration between the Botany Department, the Dean, and the union.”