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Kalima UH Hilo Administrative Affairs Employee of Quarter

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Date: Thursday, April 14, 2005
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Susan Kalima has been named Employee of the Quarter for Administrative Affairs at the University of Hawaii at Hilo . Kalima has served since 1978 at UH Hilo, rising from clerk-stenographer to become secretary to the Division Chair of the Business and Economics Division in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1986. She assumed her current position as secretary to the Vice Chancellor of Administrative Affairs in 1993.

In a dozen years at her current post, Kalima has served four vice chancellors: Edgar Torigoe; Kerwin Iwamoto (interim); Dr. Jack Whittaker and current Interim Vice Chancellor, Dr. Bill Chen.

One nominator wrote that Kalima “has provided excellent service to the University with dignity, respect, integrity, dependability and loyalty that is not found in many people.” Another wrote that she “deals with irate public, faculty, staff and students with compassion and understanding.”

“I think my biggest job challenge happens when my boss is away and people come in who are upset about something,” Kalima acknowledged. “The challenge is to say the right thing to them to calm them down and to get them answers. We really do want everybody at the University to have a good experience here.”

Kalima, who says she loves both her job and “the people I work with,” called the award “an honor and a privilege.”

“I wouldn’t have gotten this award if it weren’t for the people who have helped me do my job, like Dr. Chen and all the support people through this department,” she said. “They all deserve some kind of recognition, too, because everybody does their job to help things go well.”

In her 27 years at UH Hilo, Kalima has seen the school evolve from a small, sleepy campus to a dynamic University experiencing an unprecedented and prolonged growth spurt.

“The biggest change, physically, is all the new buildings,” she mused. “There are a lot of new buildings on campus. There’s such a large enrollment now and there are always new faces, young faces.

“It’s a most exciting time for me, being here now, because of the many projects coming up, like the Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center, the U.S.-China Center, all of those things. We didn’t have that much here 27 years ago, but look at what we have now. The University is an exciting place to work, especially now.”

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