Chancellor’s Bio


Donald O. Straney was appointed chancellor at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo in 2010. Previously, he served eight years as dean of the College of Science and professor of biology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He was on the board of directors of the Desert Studies Center, the Ocean Studies Institute, and the Strategic Planning Council of the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology. Before that, he spent 23 years at Michigan State University as chair of the Department of Zoology and assistant to the provost for faculty development.

Under Straney’s leadership, UH Hilo is improving graduation rates, transfers from the local community college, and numbers of Native Hawaiian and STEM students and graduates. There also is an upward trend in research and scholarly activity, a new Office of Applied Learning, and a focus on energy conservation. In addition, the campus works closely with local educational, agricultural and business communities to address economic, workforce, and quality of life issues.

Straney serves on the Hawai‘i County Workforce Development Board, the Board of Directors of the Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce, the Hawai‘i Aerospace Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors of the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES), and the Advisory Board of the Institute of Hawaiian Language Research and Translation. He also serves on the National Advisory Board of the Center for the Integration of Teaching, Research and Learning, a National Science Foundation initiative at the University of Wisconsin.

An evolutionary biologist by training, Straney studied patterns of change in a variety of organisms in his research. He received his doctor of philosophy in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley, and his master of science in zoology from Michigan State University.

Updated Sept. 2016

Chancellor Straney’s Curriculum Vitae