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Top corporate executive to keynote UH Hilo spring commencement

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Date: Monday, May 5, 2008
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Constance H. “Connie” Lau, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI), will deliver the keynote address at the University of Hawaii at Hilo spring commencement scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 17, at Edith Kanaka`ole Stadium.

A total of 448 students representing the College of Arts and Sciences (377), College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (20), Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language (21) and College of Business and Economics (30) are candidates for various degrees or certificates.

Lau, who graduated with honors from Punahou School in Honolulu, earned her juris doctor law degree from the University of California’s Hastings College of Law, a master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and a bachelor of science degree from Yale University. She began her career as a corporate attorney in San Francisco and has been involved in finance, law, real estate development, investments and international business.

At HEI, Lau oversees the holding company for two major Hawai`i firms. Hawaiian Electric Company provides electricity for 95 percent of the State’s residents, while American Savings Bank is its third largest financial institution.

She has held numerous executive positions with HEI companies since joining Hawaiian Electric (HECO) in 1984, including, Treasurer of the parent company, Assistant Corporate Counsel and Treasurer for HECO, and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of HEI’s international power subsidiary HEI Power Corporation.

Lau became Senior Executive Vice President and COO of American Savings Bank in late 1999. She was promoted to president and CEO in 2001 and held those positions until assuming her present duties in 2006.

Lau is one of just 26 female executives in charge of a Fortune 1,000 Company. She has been recognized nationally as one of the 25 most powerful women in banking by US Banker Magazine, has been ranked twice in the “Fast Lane” top five for transforming American Savings Bank into a fast growing player in Hawai`i’s business community, and was 2004’s “Business Leader of the Year” at the Pacific Business News Business Leadership Hawai`i event.

Active in community affairs, Lau has headed or served on the board of several educational and non profit organizations, including Kamehameha Schools, Punahou School, the Consuelo Zobel Alger and Maunalani Foundations, Charles Reed Bishop Trust, Hawai`i Bankers Association and Hawai`i Community Reinvestment Corporation.

Timothy Fallis, who is majoring in English literature and religious studies with a minor in philosophy, will deliver the student address.

Fallis has maintained a 3.93 GPA while balancing the dual responsibilities of a full-time student and a full-time machinist, making parts for instruments used by the Mauna Kea Observatories. His academic honors include the Presidential and Honors Program Scholarships, Martin Doudna Award, Big Island Federal Credit Union Academic Scholarship, and the English Department’s “Best Critical Analysis Award.” He has also been named to the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s List seven times, and completed the University’s Honors Program.

Fallis has been active in various campus and community endeavors, as a two-time team captain for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and editor-in-chief of the Hohonu Academic Journal. His address will focus on the purpose of a college education and its implied responsibility.

For more information on Commencement, contact incoming Commencement Coordinator Judith Fox-Goldstein at 974-7555 or email For special accommodations, contact Susan Shirachi at 933-0816 (V) or 933-3335 (TTY). Requests should be made at least ten business days prior to the event.

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