Esther M. Nakagawara - Chapman Legacy Society
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Gifts Established:

  • Esther M. Nakagawara Presidential Scholarship Endowment Fund | Est. 2020
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Esther M. Nakagawara

By anyone’s standards, TU alumna Dr. Esther M. Nakagawara (BS ’06) is a true go-getter, and her strong work ethic, natural leadership skills, and dedication to serving others have combined to give her a successful career and life. Nakagawara attended TU as a Presidential Scholar, graduating in 2006 with a degree in biochemistry and a minor in mathematics, and she continues to cherish the opportunities she enjoyed as a TU student.

Esther’s academic and leadership abilities propelled her to achieve much during her undergraduate years, including serving in the Student Association as a Senator and a Judicial Council Justice, as Secretary on the Student Health Advisory Board, in leadership roles in Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, and she was named to Mortar Board and recognized as a Top Ten Freshman, among other honors.

Her talents continued to shine as she attended the University of California Berkeley School of Optometry, where she was a member of Beta Sigma Kappa International Optometric Honor Society and received awards for clinical honors, contact lenses, patient education and leadership, graduating in 2010.

Dr. Nakagawara went on to complete externships in three states and then her residency at the William G. Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury, North Carolina, before beginning her professional career in primary care in the Raleigh/Cary (North Carolina) metropolitan area, where she currently practices at Brier Creek Vision Care.

Dr. Nakagawara worked hard to earn her designation as a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, indicating that she has met the highest standards of professional competence in eye care, a fellowship that is earned by fewer than ten percent of optometrists. Now, she mentors other candidates for fellowship and serves as a co-coordinator for the North Carolina Optometric Society Young ODs events.

Esther Nakagawara was born in Hawaii and raised in Oklahoma, and she proudly followed her father’s career path when she entered the field of optometry. She and her father, a retired optometrist, often attend professional conferences together.

Nakagawara is grateful for the many experiences she enjoyed at The University of Tulsa, and in 2020, she made the decision to provide scholarship assistance for those who will follow in her footsteps at her alma mater. She established The Esther M. Nakagawara Presidential Scholarship Endowment Fund through an estate gift.

The TU community is deeply grateful for this important scholarship fund, which will provide opportunity to deserving and talented students at The University of Tulsa for generations to come, while extending Dr. Esther M. Nakagawara’s caring legacy of mentoring and serving others.