Pictured from left: Dave and Lindy Bess and Debra and Christopher Helm.

Alumnus Christopher Helm establishes $100,000 endowment for leadership award at Shidler College

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 during 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 an enjoyable way of giving back to his alma mater. According to him, “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. 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
“Deb and I established the David Bess Leadership Award 24 years ago to honor my Dean, my mentor, and
our friend, David Bess (former dean and professor at the Shidler College of Business),” 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.”
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 and
ten years later received his MBA from Shidler in 1991.
Helm has lived and worked in seven states, as well as in China and Hong Kong. His love for Hawai‘i and the
University of Hawai‘i brought him and Debra back to Honolulu in 2003 where he took on a position in the
Office of the VP of Research for the UH System. He has also 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 currently the executive vice president of Global Business
Development for Longhorn Vaccines and Diagnostics LLC in Bethesda, Maryland, which just received FDA
clearance for one of its technologies.
For information on establishing an endowed award or scholarship, please contact Unyong Nakata, executive
director of development, at unyong.nakata@uhfoundation.org or (808) 286-0702.