RONALD DEWOLF HIGGINS II
Ronald DeWolf Higgins II passed from this life on October 20th, at the age of 62. He worked as he lived, with an adventurous and creative spirit, and a keen sense of how technology would evolve to be integral to our lives in the future. He was a true visionary and consummate entrepreneur who worked with technology startup companies in Silicon Valley, New York and Honolulu, many of which became successful public companies. In 1994, he founded Digital Island, the first secure and reliable global network enabling corporations worldwide to use the internet for mission critical applications. The company's network was the first to bring internet access to many countries, including China. After a successful IPO, he focused his time and energy on mentoring other entrepreneurs in both Hawaii and on the mainland. He was also active within the community, serving as a director on the boards of The U.S.S. Missouri and The Honolulu Academy of Arts. A fourth generation Kama'aina, trustee of Punahou School and a member of the graduating class of 1975, Ron believed that Punahou played a significant role in both preparing and enabling his success in his professional life. It was the gratitude that stemmed from his education at Punahou that drew him to work closely with the school to develop their digital platform, which today has become the foundation on which the school's curriculum is built. It was perhaps his most personally rewarding project as the school became a model for technology applied to learning. "Ron was always grateful for the impact that Punahou School had on him and his family. Through his vision, insight, and philanthropy as a Punahou trustee, Ron's impact on Punahou has been profound. His significant knowledge and financial investment in the school's technology infrastructure transformed education at Punahou through deeper, more personalized student learning and through robust faculty learning and professional development. Through technology, Ron envisioned the power of education to build a networked global community connecting people and ideas. He challenged Punahou teachers, students, and alumni to leverage his investment to improve the human condition. This will be his legacy," stated Dr. James K. Scott, former President of Punahou School. He also worked with faculty and administration at the University of Hawaii to cultivate and nurture entrepreneurism. David McClain, President Emeritus of the University of Hawaii remembers, "At a time in the 1990s when the entrepreneurial movement in Hawaii was just getting started at the business school and the broader University, Ron Higgins provided valuable, one-of-a-kind inspiration. Here was a son of Hawaii who had gone all the way, creating a tech business around a radical new idea and taking it to an IPO. Ron's warmth and generosity never failed to light up any room he entered, energizing all those he touched with the spirit that anything is possible. He was a steadfast and caring friend to all; he will be greatly missed, but never forgotten." The family will always remember his sense of humor, his joyful laugh and the love and devotion he had for all of them. His spirit lives on in his wife and life partner of 34 years, Sanne Higgins, and daughters, Nina Davis, Dana Espinoza and a son-in-law that he considered the son he never had, Antonio Espinoza, along with five adored grandchildren whom he loved with all his heart. May he rest in peace, until we meet again! As per his wishes, the family will honor him privately. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Punahou Institute for Thought Leadership Fund that Ron endowed to support innovations in Educational Technology in the classroom for faculty and staff, and outreach to share educational technology practices with the community. Please send to: Punahou School, Attention: Noe Archambault, 1601 Punahou Street, Honolulu, HI 96822.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased