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Month: February 2013

2013 Alumni Awards Banquet

Alumni & Friends award recipients stand with  government and university officials. (Left to right) State Rep. Clift Tsuji, Bishop Eric Matsumoto, County Director of Research & Development Randy Kurohara representing Mayor Billy Kenoi, Dr. Larry Kimura, State Sen. Gil Kahele, Ms. Valerie Takata, former Director of UH Hilo University Relations Gerald DeMello, and Chancellor Don Straney.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo’s 13th Annual Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards Banquet was held on Feb 22. Honored as this year’s Distinguished Alumni are Bishop Eric Matsumoto, Dr. Larry Kimura and Ms. Valerie Takata. The Distinguished Service honoree is Mr. Gerald De Mello.

Eric Matsumoto is the 16th Bishop of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaiʻi, the state’s largest Buddhist denomination. He is the third youngest minister in the history of the mission to assume the title of bishop. Born and raised in Honaunau on Hawaiʻi island, he is a graduate of Konawaena High School and a recipient of the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship.

Larry Kimura is recognized as the grandfather of the movement to perpetuate the use of Hawaiian language in modern Hawaiʻi, and has a PhD in Indigenous Language and Culture Revitalization. As an assistant professor of Hawaiian language and culture, Kimura has spent 20 years creating audio documentation of the last native Hawaiian language speakers.

Valerie Takata is the Hawaiʻi Department of Education complex area superintendent for the Hilo and Waiakea Districts. Prior to her appointment in February 2002, Takata served as Hawaiʻi district superintendent and deputy district superintendent. During her administration at Keonepoko Elementary School, she was selected as the Hawai’i National Distinguished Principal.

Gerald De Mello is the former director of university relations at UH Hilo, a position he held for 21 years. He previously taught sociology for 15 years at UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College, where his efforts were recognized with the Excellence in Teaching Award. Following his tenure as an educator, De Mello was East Hawaiʻi administrative assistant to former Governor John Waiheʻe.

~Adapted from UH Hilo press release


“Bee-coming Sustainable,” a community event held at UH Hilo Farm Laboratory

Beekeeping and sustainable agriculture were the focus of a fun community event held at UH Hilo’s Farm Laboratory in Pana‘ewa.

Alan Wong
Chef Alan Wong with some of the school children who attended the Bee-coming Sustainable community event. (Left to right) Milla, Kamalei, and Ihilani Sakai; Alan Wong; Sunday and Cricket Miura; Irie Sakai.
UH Hilo student
(Left to right) Laurie Jahraus and Samuel Clubb, UH Hilo students and scholarship recipients, demonstrate the process of uncapping to Mr. and Mrs. Ikeda who drove in from Kona for the event. An electric uncapping knife is used to cut through the wax cappings so the honey can be extracted.

Beekeeping and sustainable agriculture were the focus of a commmunity event held Feb. 23 at University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Farm Laboratory in Pana‘ewa. Hosted by UH Hilo’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources, the “Bee-coming Sustainable” event celebrated the “Alan Wong Adopt a Beehive” program, now in its third year. The program is a partnership between Chef Alan Wong and UH Hilo to raise awareness of the critical plight of honey bees and to promote local solutions to sustaining the local honey bee industry. Members of the public can adopt a beehive at the farm lab to support research and development of healthy beehive practices in Hawai‘i.

Three UH Hilo students were presented with scholarships at the Bee-coming Sustainable event. The scholarships are funded through the “Alan Wong Adopt a Beehive” program. (Left to right) Chancellor Don Straney; scholarship recipients Samuel Clubb, Laurie Jahraus, and Shohei Yamaki; and Chef Alan Wong.

“It was an adopter appreciation event filled with exhibits by my students, visits to the hives, and food samplings with local ingredients prepared by Chef Wong and his team,” says Lorna Tstutumi, professor of entomology who has taught beekeeping at UH Hilo for over 30 years.

Also celebrated at the event were three UH Hilo students from the agriculture college who were each presented a $1,000 “Adopt-a-Beehive with Alan Wong Scholarship.” The scholarships are made possible through the generous support of donors who have joined Chef Alan Wong in adopting beehives at UH Hilo’s Farm Laboratory in Panaʻewa.

The Bee-coming Sustainable event was swarming with school kids. Tstusumi says an anonymous donor gifted a hive this season to the second grade class of E.B. DeSilva, home of the super bees. “The students from the class were invited as donor’s to the event.” she says. The children learned about products made from beeswax such as hand made crayons made with wax extracted from the hives at the farm.

At right is Andrea Barton, a UH Hilo student enrolled in Prof. Tsutsumi’s advanced beekeeping course this semester, at the art table with her son Felix. Children at the event learned about and played with handmade crayons made with beeswax extracted from the hives at the farm.
Chef Alan Wong (left) talks to Mike Cromwell of Wailea Agricultural Group.

This year, the Adopt a Beehive program piloted a project with the Wailea Agricultural Group, a local farm owned by Michael Crowell producing hearts of palm, flowers, fruit and spices.

“We took a UH Hilo hive to his farm and worked with him to teach him beekeeping, though he already had some experience,” says Tsutsumi. “He brought the frames of honey from that hive collected by the UH Hilo bees that had pollinated his crops to the event for extraction. The lemons in the lemonade that was served came from Wailea Ag and were pollinated by the UH Hilo bees. The program is trying to get more out into the community to teach the importance of integrating bees to increase pollination.”

Photos courtesy of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources. Used with permission.

Scholarship benefits student beekeepers and promotes sustainable agriculture

Left to right, Chancellor Donald Straney; scholarship recipients Samuel Clubb, Laurie Jahraus, and Shohei Yamaki; and Chef Alan Wong.”

Three University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo students from the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management have been selected to each receive an Adopt-a-Beehive with Alan Wong Scholarship. The recipients are Samuel Clubb, Laurie Jahraus, and Shohei Yamaki. The awards were presented Feb. 23 at the “Bee-coming Sustainable” event held at UH Hilo’s Farm Laboratory in Panaʻewa

The three $1000 scholarships are made possible through the generous support of donors who have joined Chef Alan Wong in adopting beehives at UH Hilo’s Farm Laboratory in Panaʻewa in the 2012-2013 school year. Launched in the fall of 2011, the Adopt-a-Beehive with Alan Wong program builds awareness of the critical plight of honey bees and promotes local solutions to sustaining the honey bee industry.

All three students successfully completed UH Hilo’s introductory beekeeping course (Entomology 262) during the fall semester, learning to take care of beehives and to extract honey, while communicating with their assigned beehive adopters. They qualified for the scholarship by demonstrating a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and enrolling in advanced beekeeping (Entomology 350) for the spring semester.

Lorna Tsutsumi, professor of entomology, has taught the beekeeping curriculum at UH Hilo for over thirty years.

“Through the partnership with Alan Wong, the program is achieving a set of common beneficial goals,” says Tsutsumi. “We are supporting UH Hilo students and the next generation of students, giving students the opportunity to share their education with the lifelong learners in our community, and creating public awareness of the importance of the honey bee and beekeeping.”

Nominations now open for 2013 UH Hilo Awards

UH HiloAloha,

Nominations are now being accepted for the following University of Hawai‘i at Hilo awards:


  • The Koichi and Taniyo Taniguchi Award for Excellence and Innovation recognizes creativity in teaching, scholarship, and artistic production at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Any full-time UH Hilo faculty or staff member is eligible. Teams consisting of two or more faculty or staff may also be nominated. Students may be part of teams led by faculty or staff.


  • The Award for Excellence in Scholarly/Creative Activities is presented to a tenure/track faculty or a full-time Board of Regent-classified professional staff member for outstanding achievement in scholarly and/or creative endeavors, including publication, of well-reviewed books, publication in refereed journals, or performance or exhibitions at the state or national levels.
  • The Outstanding University Support Employee Award is presented to a university support service employee who has made significant contributions to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.
  • The Professional Staff Award is presented to a professional staff member who has made major professional contributions to his/her unit and to the university as a whole, and has made a positive impact on the welfare of students and colleagues.

Nomination instructions and forms are on UH Hilo’s awards webpage. The deadline for nominations is Friday, March 22, 2013.

Please take this opportunity to recognize the contributions of your UH Hilo ‘ colleagues and their positive impact.

Don Straney

UH names four major facilities and programs after Sen. Daniel Inouye

Inouye’s immeasurable impact on the university was the focus of a press conference on Feb. 22. Among the UH facilities and programs named after the late senator is UH Hilo’s Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.

The University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents voted unanimously in February 2013 to name four UH facilities and programs after the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye to honor his legacy and commitment to the University of Hawaiʻi.

The facilities and programs:

“The board embraced the opportunity to celebrate his legacy and his vision, to want to have the university be an impactful institution on all of our major islands,” said UH Board of Regents Chair Eric K. Martinson.

“He encouraged us to make education a priority. He encouraged us to do the best in the world in certain areas of research and to build for the future in other areas,” said UH President M.R.C. Greenwood. “He was just himself, an enormous inspirational man of great integrity and courage.”

Inouye’s immeasurable impact on the university was the focus of a press conference on February 22, 2013. The university officially named the facilities and programs after him to thank the senator and his family for his extraordinary vision and support during his nearly 60-year long career in public service, the last 50 as a United States senator.

“The accomplishments that he made during that time are monumental. He has created new research programs at the University of Hawaiʻi and elsewhere,” said David Karl, professor and Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education director.

Inouye helped steer millions of dollars to the university for projects like the Center for Microbial Oceanography but his focus was not just on UH Mānoa. The community colleges and campuses on the neighbor islands were just as important to him.

“Those colleges have thrived and are on a trajectory to be among the best in the country because of the support and stewardship that Senator Inouye gave to them,” said Donald Straney, UH Hilo chancellor.

He was the driving force behind Hilo’s College of Pharmacy and Kauaʻi’s Electronics Technology Building. Despite all he accomplished for UH, Inouye always pushed himself and other to do more.

“And let me tell you, every time I saw the senator, I felt his hand on my back saying, ‘Move forward, progress. You can be great and we need to be great for the citizens that live on the island of Kauaʻi,’” said Helen Cox, Kauaʻi Community College chancellor.

“If he was here today, he probably would not agree to this. He probably would say, ‘That’s not the way I want to be remembered,’” said Representative Colleen Hanabusa.

But now his memory will live on for generations.

“It is about, certainly celebrating the moment, but more importantly about continuing to look toward the future, said wife Irene Hirano Inouye. “Continuing to imagine what no one would believe could be done but always finding a way to make it happen.”

“To hear everyone paying respect to my father and thanking us for our role that we played is humbling,” said Ken Inouye.

~UH News