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Tag: UH Hilo Community

Second call for professional development proposals


Professional Development funding approvals for the first round of applications were announced on November 1, 2012.

Now applications are again being accepted for funding of 2012-13 professional development events by the Chancellor’s Professional Development fund.

The purpose of the Professional Development Fund is to provide opportunities for continued professional growth and development for faculty and staff, with a special emphasis on development that will have far-reaching impacts on our campus.

Application forms and process guidelines are available at

The application deadline is 4:00pm, Wednesday, November 28, 2012.

Questions regarding the Professional Development fund and its events can be directed to

UH Hilo pharmacy class of 2016 takes oath

The class of 2016 at Hawaiʻi’s College of Pharmacy at University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is on its way. The first year students at the only fully accredited pharmacy college in the Pacific region participated in an important rite of passage on Saturday, Oct. 13, the white coat ceremony.

An important announcement was made at the event about the college, which was founded in 2006.

“I’m very pleased to announce for the first time that the last graduating class had a pass rate of 94 percent,” said College of Pharmacy Dean John Pezzuto, referring to the national exam that every pharmacist must pass to be licensed.

The announcement was met with a loud and long applause.

The student pharmacists know there is a lot of work ahead for the next four years and were challenged and encouraged at the ceremony by every speaker, including Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi.

“Never ever doubt yourself,” said Kenoi. “You got here already. All you got to do is keep doing what you did to get you here in the first place. You already know how to succeed. That’s why you are here.”

State and Hawaiʻi county dignitaries were on hand as the college’s faculty helped the 89 students don their white coats. They then recited the “Oath of a Pharmacist” as they affirmed their commitment to professionalism, respect, integrity and caring.

“I think it hit me when the associate dean made his opening speech,” said student pharmacist Moani Hagiwara after the ceremony. “I kind of got a little chicken skin. A chill went through my body.”

“Couple of seconds before I walked on the stage and I saw the procession line and shaking everybody’s hand and realize then, this is really it,” said fellow student pharmacist Kyle Cabison. “My palms started getting a little sweaty, heartbeat got a little faster.”

“It’s a mixture of being overwhelmed and happy at the same time I guess,” said student Necole Miyazaki.

The students were greeted by proud family and friends after the ceremony.

“It feels really good,” said student pharmacist Allan Higa who was covered with lei. “Now I feel like I’m getting on the pathway of becoming a pharmacist. And I feel like I’m part of the community and I’m obligated to serve them.”

“I’m very excited,” agreed Hagiwara. “I grew up here on this island too, so it’s a little bit of home pride as well. It’s exciting to have it here especially.”

~UH System News

UH Hilo celebrates Filipino American Heritage Month

(l-r) Chancellor Don Straney, Iris Viacrusis, and Vice Chancellor Kenny Simmons at the kick off celebration of Filipino American Heritage Month. Viacrusis designed the shirts worn by the chancellor and vice chancellor.
(l-r front row) Chancellor Straney; Randy Hirokawa, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and Bruce Mathews, dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management.

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo kicked off Filipino American Heritage Month with a celebration Oct. 4 at the Campus Center Plaza. The theme for this year is “FIESTA: Celebrating Filipino Culture and Heritage.”

The celebration began with a Barrio Fiesta parade. UH Hilo administrators, students, student organizations, and members of the Filipino community were dressed in traditional and modern Filipino clothing.

UH Hilo Chancellor Straney wore a barong, an embroidered formal shirt of the Philippines that was designed and loaned to him by Iris Viacrusis, who also designed the shirt worn by Kenith Simmons, vice chancellor for academic affairs.

UH Hilo administrators gather for a photo. (l-r) Randy Hirokawa, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Chancellor Don Straney; Kevin Hopkins, director of the Pacific Aquaculture & Coastal Resources Center; Marcia Sakai, vice chancellor for administrative affairs; Luoluo Hong, vice chancellor for student affairs; and Gail Makuakāne-Lundin, executive assistant to the chancellor.

See the schedule below for information about events to be held throughout the month of October. For more information contact Gail Makuakāne-Lundin.

Schedule of events for Filipino American Heritage Month

Photos provided by Millie Asuncion, a community member of the UH Hilo Filipino Advisory Committee.

UH Hilo’s Professional Development Committee holds kickoff event

Keynote speaker Taupouri Tangarō addresses the audience at the recent kickoff event held by UH Hilo’s Professional Development Committee.

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Professional Development Committee held a successful kickoff event Sept. 19 on campus at Ho‘oulu Terrace. There were over a hundred faculty, staff and students in attendance.

“The Professional Development Committee was especially pleased by the turnout of staff and the positive verbal comments after the session,” says committee chair Jube Kuewa, acting director of the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action.

Taupouri Tangarō, PhD, assistant professor and chair of the Hawai‘i lifestyles department at Hawai‘i Community College, was the keynote speaker. Tangarō’s presentation was titled, “How Individual Professional Development Shapes Organizational Excellence.” He emphasized the importance of employees’ self actualization and organizational identity.

The event included a discussion on the application process for funding for professional development. The application deadline is October 5, 2012. Find more details on the Professional Development website.

Kuewa says many staffers expressed being pleased at having an opportunity for training. Of note, one staffer said “she must thank the chancellor (for this opportunity).”

“The Professional Development Committee is prepared to do the hard work that’s coming up,” says Kuewa, noting that reviewing and deciding on applications, and planning two more training event presentations are current priorities.

Kuewa says he will be included in any university-level discussions regarding professional development.

“The PDC is now UH Hilo’s public entity on professional development,” says Kuewa. “PDC involvement will be useful in considering workforce concerns and in disseminating information to our faculty and staff on these matters.”

Director of University Relations Gerald DeMello to retire Dec. 31

Gerald De Mello


It is with a great deal of mixed emotions that I am announcing that Gerald DeMello has decided to retire, effective December 31, 2012.

Gerald has served as director of University Relations since January 1991. For the past 21 years, he has been an indispensable advocate for the university and a major reason for the growth and development UH Hilo has enjoyed during that period. His outreach to Big Island legislators, federal and county officials, business, labor and community leaders has created a highly effective partnership with the university that has resulted in some of the most significant capital improvements in UH Hilo’s history.

There is no question that Gerald’s big-picture vision for “the university that can be,” and his genuine enthusiasm for UH Hilo, are strong selling points. His personality and professionalism have also played a big role in opening doors and creating opportunities for the university that may not have been possible without him. His capacity for getting a meeting at just the right time with key decision makers has often been the key to UH Hilo’s success, and with Gerald on the team, UH Hilo has had many successes.

Although we will miss Gerald, he has worked tirelessly throughout his career and deserves the opportunity to spend more time with his family. I know all of you join me in wishing nothing but the very best for Gerald as he embarks on new adventures.

A search for Gerald’s successor will be underway shortly.

Don Straney