A timeline of growth from branch campus to internationally recognized university.
1947 The Hilo Program, located on Haili Street, begins as an extension division of UH Mānoa.
1949 The Hilo Program is renamed the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo Center.
1951 The Center is renamed the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo Branch with an enrollment of 100 students.
1955-56 Hilo Branch opens a new permanent campus on Lanikaula Street with the construction of College Hall and a gymnasium at a cost of $385,000. Enrolled in the two-year school were 155 students who were offered concentrations in the arts and sciences and courses in education, business administration, and engineering.
1969-1970 The four-year UH Hilo is established, enrollment tops 1,000 with several dozen professors.
1971 Center of Continuing Education and Community Service is founded, later transforms into College of Continuing Education and Community Service in 1991.
1975 College of Agriculture is founded. Name changes in 1998 to College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Management.
1979 College of Arts and Sciences is established (formerly Hilo College).
1980 New Athletics Complex opens.
1982 Edwin H. Mookini Library the Edith Kanaka‘ole Hall classroom and office building open.
1987 Construction begins on 250-bed dormitory and dining hall complex.
1990 In 1990, UH Hilo’s University Park of Science and Technology opens on campus under UH Hilo management. The first tenants are several base facilities for international observatories with telescopes on Mauna Kea. Soon after, the Smithsonian Array base facilities, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry complex, and the U.S.D.A. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center open. In 2006, UH Hilo opens its ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center. By 2007, total investment of tenants at the park is $800 million with the creation of over 400 jobs.
1991 Up to this point, UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College, located across the street from each other, operate almost as a single unit with students able to cross register at either campus. Now the two are separated into two institutions, although still share facilities and services.
1998 College of Hawaiian Language is founded and is named Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani.
2001 $3 million Marine Science Building opens. It is the first new major building on campus in 20 years, providing classrooms, labs and offices for growing Marine Science program.
2003 $19 million three-story University Classroom Building opens. With lecture halls, classrooms, labs and offices, it provides additional space for expansion. Located at the new main entrance to campus, it is UH Hilo’s signature building.
2004 The School of Business becomes the College of Business and Economics.
2004 The Western Association for Schools and Colleges reaffirms UH Hilo’s accreditation through 2014.
2006 College of Pharmacy is founded. In Fall 2007, inaugural class commences and college gains pre-candidate accreditation status, the first and only pharmacy college in the state to do so. In 2011, the college receives full accreditation when its first cohort of PharmD students graduates. In 2013, the college is renamed the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy in honor of Hawai‘ i’s late senior senator and the college’s greatest champion.
2006 ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i opens on campus at the University Park of Science and Technology.
2007-2008 UH Hilo celebrates its 60th anniversary.
2010 Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language presents two doctorates in Hawaiian and Indigenous Language and Culture Revitalization, the first doctoral degrees awarded at UH Hilo.
2011 The new Sciences and Technology Building opens.
The new student housing complex Hale ʻAlahonua opens (see story and video). The first new student housing project since 1989 is a $32.5 million dollar structure made up of three, three-story residential wings that house approximately 300 students, increasing on-campus housing by more than 30 percent.
The new Student Services Building opens. (2011 story on groundbreaking has info on structure and offices.)
Haleʻōlelo opens, the new permanent building for Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language.
Two academic programs changed from provisional to established status, the bachelor of science in marine science and the master of arts in indigenous language and culture education.
Benchmarks: The master of science in conservation biology and environmental science program has graduated 100 students in 10 years, and over 340 doctorates have been awarded at UH Hilo.
Unless otherwise noted, photos courtesy of UH Hilo Graphics Department.