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Category: Community Gatherings

Coming Out Day

Chancellor Straney was keynote speaker at UH Hilo’s Coming Out Day event, where he shared his personal experience as a gay man in higher education.

Chancellor Straney and Laura Sherwood, UH Hilo LGBTQ coordinator, at Coming Out Day event. Courtesy photo.
Chancellor Straney and Laura Sherwood, UH Hilo LGBTQ coordinator, at Coming Out Day event. Courtesy photo.

coming-out-dayChancellor Don Straney was the keynote speaker at the Coming Out Day event held on the campus of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo on Tuesday.

Chancellor Straney shared his personal experience as a gay man in higher education.

“He was authentic in his sharing, allowing for students to relate and see a different side of him,” says Laura Sherwood, UH Hilo LGTBQ coordinator.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports on the event:

When Donald Straney was an undergrad at Michigan State University, he said he was “absolutely convinced” he was the only gay person on campus.

It was the 1970s and the 40,000-student MSU didn’t have an LGBTQ+ center — a hub for lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and/or questioning individuals to convene, access resources or get help.

“There was no way for me to know otherwise,” Straney, chancellor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, told about 50 students, staff and faculty members Tuesday.

This fall, Straney, along with other UH-Hilo administrators and student leaders, helped start the new LGBTQ+ Center on the Hilo campus.

The center is located in a small room on the edge of campus formerly used as faculty offices. Costs — which include operations and funding a center coordinator position — are estimated to run about $45,000 per year, according to Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Gail Makuakane-Lundin.

Straney, who was keynote speaker for an on-campus celebration of National Coming Out Day on Tuesday, said he hopes the center gives students a place to meet, get information and — most importantly — increase the LGBTQ+ community’s visibility on the Hilo campus.

“From my point of view, the most important thing the center does is it lets people know that we’re here,” he told those gathered in the Campus Center Plaza. “It lets prospective students know that (LGBTQ+) students have a place on campus.”

Read full story…

Learn more about resources for LGBTQ students at UH Hilo.

UH Hilo 2016 Barrio Festival

The annual event is a celebration of Filipino culture with colorful costumes, song and dance on the campus’s central plaza.

Photos by Bob Douglas, click to enlarge.


The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo launched 2016 Filipino American Heritage Month with the Barrio Fiesta held on Saturday. The annual event is a celebration with colorful costumes, song and dance on the campus’s central plaza.

The 2016 Barrio Fiesta was fashioned after a traditional Filipino fiesta celebration with a festive gathering of special guests, administration, politicians, community members, students, faculty and staff. Chancellor Straney attended (see photo above right). Performances and traditional Filipino folk games and contests were featured including the famous balut (unhatched fertilized duck egg) -eating contest.

Photographer Bob Douglas was there to capture the celebration. See more photos at UH Hilo Stories.

Pokémon GO: Catch ’em on campus!

The popular location-based game offers many Pokémon Spawns and Poké Stops on the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo campus.

Don and Ellen
Team Mystic member Chancellor Don Straney shows off his Pokémon GO captures to Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano during a Week  of Welcome event last month. The popular location-based game offers many Pokémon Spawns and Poké Stops on campus, including around the Administration Building, shown below.


Via Ka Lono Hanakahi, pg.6.

Fall 2016 Week of Welcome

Chancellor Straney
Week of Welcome: Chancellor Straney with WoW co-chairs Brenda Burch (left) and Juvette Kahawaii. Courtesy photo.

Chancellor Don Straney welcomed new students of the class of 2020 to the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo on Wednesday during opening activities of the 17th Semi-Annual Week of Welcome (WoW) held on the Campus Center Plaza. Representatives from UH Hilo student organizations and clubs, programs, services and departments were on the plaza daily August 22-26 to answer questions and help with orientation to the campus.

Each day the program was run by representatives of different Chartered Student Organizations (CSO): Board of Media Broadcasting, Board of Student Publications, Student Activities Council, UH Hilo Student Association and the Campus Center Fee Board. URH the campus’s very own student radio station, provided music.

“The CSOs also provided giveaways and prizes to get the audience to interact with our student leaders,” says WoW Co-Chair Juvette Kahawaii.

Along with Chancellor Straney, other administrators also attended to meet and greet the newest members of the UH Hilo ‘ohana.

WoW is held twice each year at the start of semesters to help new students find out about the many ways to get involved, to learn about services available for UH Hilo students, faculty and staff and to meet people from around campus and the local community.

Aug. 31, 2016: Post revised with CSO names and links, and quotation from co-chair.

Chancellor welcomes new faculty

Chancellor Don Straney hosted a social gathering on Wednesday to welcome new faculty to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

(l-r) Newcomer Shugeng Cao, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and Carolyn Ma, interim dean of the College of Pharmacy. Click photos to enlarge.


Bios for UH Hilo’s new faculty and staff:

MichelleMichelle Agbigay: Administrative and Fiscal Support Specialist, Facilities Planning and Construction.
Previous positions: Project Coordinator, Kamehameha Schools—Hawai‘i Culture-Based Education; Project Support Specialist, UH Hilo, Housing Office; Project Coordinator, SSFM International Inc-Hilo Branch Office.
Academic background: Attending Leeward Community College, Accounting; LEED Green Associate Certification.

JeanneJeanne Batallones: Counselor, Student Support Services Program.
Previous positions: Native Hawaiian Transfer and Career Guidance Counselor, Halaulani Transfer Success Center, Hawai‘i Community College; Counselor/Instructor, Gateway to College Program and Department Chair, Philippine Studies, City College of San Francisco.
Academic background: BA, Asian American Studies, and MS, Counseling (college emphasis), San Francisco State University.

ShugengShugeng Cao: Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Academic focus: Biologically active natural products from marine and terrestrial fungi and bacteria in Hawai‘i; manipulating silent genes; herbal medicine; small molecules with biological functions in bacteria.
Previous positions: Assistant Professor, University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center; Instructor, Harvard Medical School; Senior Research Fellow, Virginia Tech.
Academic background: PhD, National University of Singapore; Postdoctoral Fellow, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School.

GeorgeGeorge Karvas: Instructor, Pharmacy Practice.
Academic focus: pharmacy practice.
Previous position: Pharmacy Manager, Longs/CVS Punahele.
Academic background: BS, Pharmacy, Oregon State University (1991).

OscarOscar Larican: Office Assistant, Business Office.
Previous positions: Service Assistant, Big Island Honda–Hilo; Customer Representative, Homestreet Bank Queen Anne, Seattle; Senior Consultant, Usbank Corp.
Academic background: business computer network tech training; financial banking background experience.

MorganMorgan Light: Evening Circulation Supervisor, Mookini Library.
Previous positions: Associate Librarian, Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Santa Fe, NM; self-employed piano tuner, Los Alamos, NM.
Academic background: Support Staff Certification, American Library Association (2014); Library Technology, Northern New Mexico College (2010); AA, Art and Biology, University of New Mexico (2009).

MonicaMonica Morita: Compliance Coordinator/Senior Women Administrator, Athletics.
Previous positions: Executive Assistant, University of Hawai‘i Football; Assistant Athletic Director/Director of Student Services, USC Athletics Stevens Academic Center; Assistant to the Head Football Coach, USC; Student Advisor, Masters Programs, USC Leventhal School of Accounting.
Academic background: AB, Journalism–Public Relations, MPA, and EdD, University of Southern California.

JenniferJennifer Naguwa: Admissions Counselor, Student Affairs.
Previous positions: GEAR UP Assistant Project Manager, Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education; Senior Program Assistant, Hawai‘i Community Foundation.
Academic background: BBA and Masters in Education Administration, Higher Ed (in progress), UH Manoa.

Lukela Ruddle: Cultural Resources Management Plan Manager, Office of Maunakea Management.
Previous position: Community Outreach Coordinator, Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Academic background: BA, English, UH Hilo.

TimothyTimothy Scheffler: Instructor, Anthropology.
Academic focus: human paleoeconomy and historical ecology.
Previous positions: Instructor, Tropical Ecosystem and Agroforestry Management Program (Forest TEAM), Hawai‘i Community College; Independent archaeological and geological contractor, Geohazards Consultants International, Inc.
Academic background: PhD, Penn State University (2008).

JoleneJolene Sutton: Assistant Professor, Biology.
Academic focus: genetics.
Previous position: Postdoctoral Researcher, UH Manoa.
Academic background: PhD,University of Otago; MSc, Acadia University; BSc (Honors), Memorial University of Newfoundland.


-Bio information from the March issue of Ka Lono Hanakahi, UH Hilo’s faculty newsletter.