Alumni & Friends

Welcome UH Hilo Students & Alumni!

Whether you are a current UH Hilo student or an alumni who graduated years ago, the UH Hilo Alumni & Friends Association would like to invite you to connect with your fellow Vulcans by enrolling as a member! Please visit this link and join today!


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Services are limited to UH Hilo-affiliated departments and organizations only. Please submit all requests at least 3 weeks in advance of the event. We reserve the right to approve requests based on available funding and resources.

Join us at the Holiday Lava Run on Dec. 6!

Proceeds to support students affected by the lava flow, UH Hilo Alumni & Friends Association events and the Student Athlete Advisory Council. Explore the UH Hilo campus in a family-friendly, festive 5K Run/Walk!


UH Hilo News & Events


UH Hilo Alumna Receives Marine Conservation Fellowship

Louisa Ponnampalam

A University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo graduate was recently awarded the Marine Conservation Fellowship from PEW Charitable Trust. The PEW Fellows Program in Marine Conservation funds projects that address critical challenges in ocean conservation. Each year, five marine fellows are selected based on the strengths of their proposed projects, including the benefit their research will provide in protecting ocean environments.

Louisa Shobhini Ponnampalam, Ph.D., a 2003 UH Hilo marine science graduate and a research fellow at the Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was awarded $150,000 to conduct a three-year study on dugongs, a large coastal marine mammal that resembles the manatee. Ponnampalam will gather scientific data on Malaysia’s dugong population and their habitat to explore the distribution, relative abundance, movement, and patterns of habitat use utilizing visual, acoustic, and underwater surveys. Her research will also assist other scientists working to protect dugongs worldwide.

Ponnampalam is co-founder of the grassroots NGO, Malaysia’s first non-profit organization dedicated to research, conservation, and increasing public awareness of marine animals. Known for her passionate dedication to helping marine mammals, she is also vice-chair of the International Consortium for Marine Conservation and serves as a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission’s Cetacean and Sirenian Specialist Groups.

To view a video of Louisa giving a talk titled "Whales, dolphins and what the sea is saying" for the TEDxYouth@KL platform, click here.


New Home for College of Hawaiian Language

team poliahu

Hale`ōlelo, is the new home of the University of Hawai`i at Hilo’s Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language.

“The faculty and staff of Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikōlani has worked long and hard to establish the College as a leader in indigenous language and cultural revitalization,” said Chancellor Don Straney. “At long last, they have a permanent home in a facility that is worthy of the quality programs that have earned them international recognition.”

The $21 million complex on Nowelo Street features spectacular landscape, mountain and ocean views and designs that reflect native Hawaiian culture and Hawaiʻi Island’s natural resources that tie together the naming of the College and the building where it resides.

“The high roof design was inspired by the pili grass thatched home of Princess Ruth Ke`elikōlani, for whom the building of the College is named,” explained Dr. Larry Kimura, assistant professor, Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikōlani. “Her home, on the grounds of Hulihe`e Palace in Kailua-Kona, was known as Hale`ōlelo, or House of Language, which now becomes the home for the College of Hawaiian Language.”

In addition to being a cultural and architectural landmark, the two-story complex is also a highly functional facility, spanning 36,760 square feet. Among its key features is a Performing Arts Auditorium that can be sub-divided. Special-use rooms include a library, curriculum and media resource room, tutorial, archive and telecom conference rooms, a computer lab, student and faculty meeting rooms, and 30 offices.

More importantly, Hale`ōlelo consolidates most of the College’s programs and operations formerly scattered throughout the campus while providing needed infrastructure to address the needs brought about by its growth and development. Since achieving collegiate status in 1997, it has experienced a surge in enrollment while introducing new degrees that produced UH Hilo’s first Master’s and Ph.D. recipients.

“It’s been a long time coming, but the wait has been worth it,” noted Keiki Kawai`ae`a, director, Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikōlani “This facility addresses many of our growing pains, and will enable expansion of our graduate and undergraduate programs in increasingly impactful ways for our State. We want to thank everyone throughout the community who supported this initiative and made it a reality.”


Get an inside peek of the building: Hale`ōlelo video.

Source: UH Hilo News Release

ALEX Mentorship Program

Photo with College of Business and Economics Dean, Hank Hennessey left and Eileen Liu rightThe ALEX Mentorship program is actively recruiting mentors and mentees (students) who will be matched based on their professional and personal interests. This of course includes faculty and staff members at UH Hilo, who through mentoring can not only provide valuable insights into their respective career fields, but also realize the sense of fulfillment that comes along with serving as a mentor to an undergraduate student. Please submit your application to the ALEX Mentorship Program today!



UH Hilo Events

Holiday Lava Run




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To serve and support the needs of our alumni and the University through leadership, communication, involvement and investment.

To be a dynamic organization recognized as a valuable resource that champions a passion for lifelong engagement between our alumni and the University.