Julia Okinaka, J96


Julia Okinaka, smiling through the long haul


Keeps you running

A love of tradition and community spirit helps Julia (Pae) Okinaka, J96, keep Tufts Alumni Hawaii—and herself—running. The D.C. native moved to Oahu 10 years ago after running the Honolulu marathon. “I was working for Goldman Sachs in Japan at the time, and I’ve always been a runner,” says the mother of one, “so I thought I’d try the marathon here.” The marathon turned into a career break in Hawaii which tumbled into a permanent island life for the woman who once wondered how anyone could live in paradise forever.

“I met my husband and I never looked back,” says Okinaka, who has completed a marathon or triathlon every year since moving to Oahu. “It’s a tradition.”

Another tradition Okinaka is trying to rebuild? Tufts Alumni Hawaii community outreach. The chapter was in limbo for many years until lifelong friends and former classmates Okinaka and Paul Wang, J98, began to rally the troops.

The first event celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Tufts University Alumni Association, and was “a great way to kick off the revitalization of our chapter,” says Okinaka. Another event was attended by President Bacow, and Okinaka says the turnout was phenomenal.

“Not only were alumni there, but also parents and their children who’d recently been accepted to Tufts. I’d love to do more gatherings like that, maybe just a casual potluck with career networking, so these students can figure out how to tap into us for internships and mentoring.”

Okinaka appreciates that island living equals tight-knit communities of folks who are bound to run into each another time and again—in fact, she’s counting on it. “I see more people here than if I were still in D.C., because everyone vacations here. And we have the best of all worlds: retired alumni, military alumni who are stationed here, transplants like myself, and young Jumbos who have all those Boston winters ahead of them.”

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