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Tag: Marcia Sakai

Message from the Chancellors on Hurricane Hector

Aloha University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College Faculty, Staff, and Students:

Photo of hurricane blown palms, with the word "Ready" and a check mark in the left top cornerPlease be advised that as of 8:00 a.m. today, Aug. 7, 2018, the center of Hurricane Hector was located approximately 540 miles east-southeast of Hilo, with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per  hour with occasional higher gusts. Forecasters note that hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles.

The storm is expected to pass approximately 165 miles south of Hawai‘i Island on Wednesday, Aug. 8. However, only a small deviation to the north of the forecast track could bring tropical storm force winds to Hawai‘i Island later tonight or tomorrow.

Possible impacts include:

  • Surf: Swells generated by Hector are forecast to reach southeast and east shores late today. A high surf warning has been issued for east-facing shores of Hawai‘i Island. This is in effect from noon today through 6:00 p.m. tomorrow.
  • Wind: Tropical storm force winds are possible across Hawai‘i Island late today and tomorrow.

As conditions warrant, we will send out announcements or alerts via email. To receive alerts on mobile phones, you may sign up online for UH Alert Notifications.

Additionally, information on hurricane preparedness can be found at the national public service website on Hurricanes.

We continue to monitor Hurricane Hector and are working closely with Hawai‘i County Civil Defense as well as other county and state agencies to remain prepared and informed.

Mahalo, and stay safe.

Marcia Sakai, Interim Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo
Rachel Solemsaas, Chancellor, Hawai‘i Community College

Former UH Hilo Chancellor Edward Kormondy dies at 91; contributions made lasting impact on UH Hilo

Ed Kormondy led UH Hilo from 1986 to 1993; his seven-year tenure at the time marked the longest term for any chancellor since UH Hilo became a four-year university in 1970.

Edward J. Kormondy
Edward J. Kormondy

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai announced today the passing of former Chancellor Edward J. Kormondy, who died April 28, 2018, at his home in Los Angeles, Calif. He was 91.

“Chancellor Kormondy’s contributions have had a lasting impact on UH Hilo,” Sakai says. “Much of what he accomplished set the stage for future growth and development that took place years after his retirement.”

Kormondy led UH Hilo from 1986 to 1993 after serving the previous four years as vice president for academic affairs at California State University, Los Angeles. His seven-year tenure at UH Hilo at the time marked the longest term for any chancellor since UH Hilo became a four-year university in 1970.

Chancellor

As chancellor, Kormondy compiled a lengthy list of accomplishments, including a large increase in enrollment, which grew from 1,594 in fall 1986 to 2,953 in fall 1993. Major outreach centers were established in Hawaiian language, the study of volcanoes, native Hawaiian childhood development and small business, and the first college course was conducted via interisland television transmission.

He oversaw construction of the Hale Kehau dormitory and dining complex, which opened in 1989, and the opening of the UH Hilo University Park of Science and Technology the following year.

He also presided over the separation of UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College in 1991.

Benefactor

Kormondy became a regular donor to the UH System in 1987 and created an endowed fund to support professional development of faculty and staff at UH Hilo. He also helped to endow the Frank T. Inouye Endowed Scholarship Fund established in 2003 in honor of the university’s first director and was a trailblazer in helping to raise funds for the scholarship, which supports UH Hilo students pursuing a degree from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Author

A celebrated author, Kormondy teamed with Inouye to write The University of Hawai‘i-Hilo: A College in the Making. The book chronicles the history of the institution, spanning a period in excess of 40 years beginning in 1952 when Inouye became director, and concluding with the end of Kormondy’s term in 1993. He has also written and contributed to more than 70 other publications, including books on academia, biology and ecology.

Administrator

In addition to UH Hilo and Cal State LA, Kormondy served in administrative and/or academic roles at UH-West O‘ahu, University of Michigan, Oberlin College, the University of Pittsburgh, Evergreen State College, the University of Southern Maine, and Tusculum College in Tennessee, where he was a trustee and acting president. He most recently served as president at the University of West Los Angeles.

Education

Kormondy received a baccalaureate degree in biology from Tusculum College, and master and doctoral degrees in the same discipline from the University of Michigan.

Family

Kormondy is survived by his partner Noriaki Nakano, his children Lynn Kormondy, Eric Kormondy (Janet), and Mark Kormondy (Susan), his grand and great grandchildren, and sister-in-law Shirley Kormondy.

Based on his wishes, no memorial service is planned and the family gathered privately to scatter his ashes. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to carry on his education legacy in the Kormondy-Hedrick Scholarship in the Life Sciences at Tusculum University, Alumni Office, P.O. Box 5040, Greeneville, TN 37743, or in another scholastic charity.

 

Media release

Interim Chancellor’s Monthly Column: ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center—Why it was created and what it represents

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center has a valuable role in our community by augmenting what school children and students learn in the classroom.

The ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i opened on the campus of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo in 2006. ‘Imiloa, which means “to seek far” and is the Hawaiian word for both explore and explorer, is an educational outreach center primarily focusing on school children, students of all ages, families, and visitors to our island who are interested in learning more about the connections between Hawaiian cultural traditions and the science of astronomy.

But ‘Imiloa’s mission is not limited to astronomy. Much of what the center offers involves the exploration of earth and life sciences, fulfilling a valuable role in our community by augmenting what school children and students learn in the classroom by sharing the technology and resources at the exhibit hall and planetarium.

Earth science education

Field trips for school children from our island and around the state are on-going at ‘Imiloa throughout the year. This summer, groups of students saw presentations on the active volcano, the universe, and topics specific to their curriculum.

A group of 37 youth from the county-sponsored Pāhoa Summer Fun program toured the center and learned about Hawai‘i volcanoes in the interactive CyberCANOE theatre. CyberCANOE stands for “Cyber Enabled Collaboration Analysis Navigation and Observation Environment” and is a 3-D visual explosion of information.

The multi-screen CyberCANOE system was installed at ‘Imiloa in 2016, becoming the first tech system of its kind on Hawai‘i Island (the UH Hilo campus now has several CyberCANOE systems installed). This is the data sharing technology of the future and a marvelous way to inspire keiki to learn about Earth and the skies above us.

This special day was made possible by a new ‘Imiloa Lava Relief Fund supported by generous personal donations by staff of the Subaru Telescope in Hilo and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan in Tokyo. Mahalo!

Also related to the current lava flow, ‘Imiloa partnered with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Sundays in July to have park rangers at the center to talk story with the public and provide updates on the eruption.

Teacher education

Earlier this summer, in a wonderfully collaborative project with a UH Hilo School of Education teacher cohort, ‘Imiloa hosted the Culture and Science Integration Partnership Project, increasing community outreach by providing professional education to K-5 teachers. ‘Imiloa shared professional development resources with the teachers to support their integration of culture and science, a highly successful model of teaching to inspire our island keiki to study and learn.

This type of teacher education deepens ‘Imiloa’s impact in our local communities through the creation of mission relevant learning modules that can be used in formal classroom settings as well as in ʻImiloa informal education programs—all for the benefit of our island keiki.

Internships

In a new partnership with the UH Hilo Upward Bound program, ʻImiloa hosted a cohort of 20 students in an internship project called STEMulate where students work directly with local organizations for five weeks to help find solutions to real-world problems.

This summer, ʻImiloaʻs STEMulate cohort focused on the challenges in managing Maunakea: environmental, cultural, economic, and health and safety. The students studied with experts, conducted research, created exhibits, and gave final presentations. The recommendations made by the students about effective exhibit designs will help ‘Imiloa staff in current and future exhibit development.

This is a good example of ‘Imiloa providing a special place for the future leaders of our communities to practice their STEM skills and present scientifically-based recommendations on incorporating Hawaiian culture into education, an important component of ‘Imiloa and UH Hilo’s missions.

Maunakea Speaker Series

The Maunakea Speaker Series gives the community unprecedented access to the fascinating research taking place on Maunakea and other topics unique to Hawai‘i. The monthly presentation by local experts and others is a partnership between the Office of Maunakea Management, ‘Imiloa, and the UH Hilo Department of Physics and Astronomy. The series promotes understanding and collaboration across all sectors of the community—the kind of outreach that is central to the mission of UH Hilo.

July’s presentation included two Maunakea Scholars from Honokaʻa High School, Hokunani Sanchez and Keilani Steele. These two accomplished students shared the results of their 2017 research into dark nebula. Ms. Steele shared her second Maunakea Scholars project, observing the Draco Dwarf Galaxy at W.M. Keck Observatory.

Coming up at ‘Imiloa

‘Imiloa is planning two free, fun public events. On Aug. 26, the center is hosting the Second Annual ‘Ōhi‘a Love Fest, a lively festival made especially for kids and families. And on Oct. 28, a family event on Wayfinding will feature traditional open-ocean navigation without instrumentation.

You are invited to visit ‘Imiloa and celebrate the wonderful nexus of science and Native Hawaiian cultural traditions.

Aloha,

Marcia Sakai

Interim Chancellor’s Monthly Column: Helping UH Hilo campus and local communities during Kīlauea eruption

Throughout this eruption, our campus and local communities have shown once again that we are sustained and made stronger by the spirit of caring for one another.

UH Hilo seal, red lettering University of Hawaii and the state motto.The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is closely monitoring the current Kīlauea eruption and giving assistance to our students, faculty and staff who are affected. No other campus in the country deals with the wide range of natural challenges that we have here on Hawai‘i Island, and the university ‘ohana is meeting the challenge this summer—we are doing what we can to help our campus and local communities..

Support for campus community

UH Hilo classes and operations are continuing as usual this summer and into the fall semester. Since the onset of the eruption in May, a high priority has been outreach to students who are directly impacted. We continue to provide emergency housing for students who are displaced by the lava flows and we are looking at options for extending some level of emergency housing for students into the fall semester.

Information is available in myriad ways to provide all students and their parents, faculty and staff with support through campus and community resources.

For example, we regularly update the 2018 Puna Lava Flow website with information for our university ‘ohana such as recent messages from the Office of the Chancellor, FAQs, information on housing, safety, wellness resources, contact information, and more.

Farrah Marie Gomes
Farrah-Marie Gomes

The Division of Student Affairs has increased outreach to prospective, new and current students through email, phone, and social media. Our Counseling Services are available for assistance with counseling, consulting, and outreach to help students find appropriate resources.

Our Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Farrah-Marie Gomes is personally available as the point of contact for student inquiries relating to housing, food, transportation, counseling or other needs.

Community outreach

On another front, UH Hilo is directly involved in the emergency response efforts by providing a safe haven for agencies and organizations directly involved in monitoring the eruption and supporting the many individuals and families impacted.

The Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory, previously located in Volcanoes National Park, which is now closed due to the eruption, has moved their operation and staff to the UH Hilo campus. This includes personnel from the U.S. Geological Survey that were sent to Hawaiʻi to respond to the eruption. USGS is the source of information for county and state emergency officials when it comes to volcanic and earthquake hazards.

Red Cross worker at lava flow
Red Cross worker at lava eruption.

We also are hosting the American Red Cross Hawai‘i Chapter operation headquarters for disaster response. Red Cross, along with Hawai‘i County partners, are supporting the shelters and have distributed thousands of necessary items and are working with the Salvation Army to provide meals. Additionally, trained Red Cross nurses and mental health volunteers are staffing the shelters and have provided health and mental health services to those in need.

Data collection

In addition to these support systems set up on campus, UH Hilo is playing a vital role in the emergency response to this historic volcanic eruption. UH Hilo professors, scientists and students are providing valuable expertise and resources on multiple fronts, helping government officials assess the hazards to personnel and the public, and decide where and how to respond.

Scientist examining lava sample.
UH Hilo scientist examines lava sample.

One team of UH Hilo scientists is collecting visual data of the lava flows via drones. Another team is collecting daily samples of lava, doing lab analysis, and getting the information back to USGS within hours. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for UH Hilo undergraduate students who are testing the lava samples.

UH Hilo also is providing another vital resource to USGS—highly qualified employees. Three recent graduates of UH Hilo are among the two dozen USGS personnel working around the clock to gather and analyze up-to-the-minute information on the eruption and lava flows.

Stay informed

I encourage everyone on our island affected by the eruption or other natural disasters to review their personal preparations and emergency plans. Always listen to the latest County Civil Defense messages on the radio and TV, visit the CD website daily, and follow the instructions. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website is the best resource for daily eruption updates.

Throughout this eruption, our campus and local communities have shown once again that we are sustained and made stronger by the spirit of caring for one another. We are going through this emergency together, supporting each other through crisis, recovery and eventual reconstruction—this serves as a model for communities throughout the world dealing with disaster response. UH Hilo is committed to its role in this important work.

Stay safe.

Marcia Sakai

Firm selected to assist with UH Hilo chancellor search

The search is expected to be completed by the end of 2018, with the new chancellor in place in spring 2019.

UH Hilo seal, red lettering University of Hawaii and the state motto.A professional search firm has been selected to assist in the search for the next University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo chancellor as originally intended when the search was announced. Witt/Kieffer is a national executive search firm with nearly 50 years of experience. The search is expected to be completed by the end of 2018, with the new chancellor in place in spring 2019.

Applications continue to be accepted through the summer with the finalists conducting campus visits in fall 2018. This will allow full participation by all stakeholders before a selection is made.

UH President David Lassner will receive input from the committee and stakeholders and present a recommendation to the UH Board of Regents. More information and a complete position description can be found on the UH Hilo Chancellor search website.

Marcia Sakai will continue to serve as interim chancellor until the new chancellor begins.

The 16-member search committee is comprised of faculty, staff, students and community members and is co-chaired by Farrah-Marie Gomes, UH Hilo vice chancellor for student affairs, and Vassilis Syrmos, UH System vice president for research and innovation.

“The next chancellor will be critical in strengthening UH Hilo’s unique position in the state and beyond,” said Lassner when the search was announced in December 2017. “The next chancellor must lead the campus vigorously forward with a spirit of innovation and collaboration in order to adapt to the changing environment for higher education in Hawaiʻi and across the nation.”

 

UH System News

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