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UH Hilo presents year end awards

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Date: Friday, May 14, 2010
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo honored faculty, staff and a student during its annual Year End Celebration and Recognition gathering held recently at the University Classroom Building.

The Chancellor’s Excellence in Service Award, presented to a faculty/professional staff member for outstanding service, was awarded jointly to Computer Science Professor Sevki Erdogan and Associate Accounting Professor Barbara Leonard.

Erdogan is currently serving his second year as chair of the UH Hilo Faculty Congress, which Leonard chaired from 2006-2008. They have also served on a number of committees, including the search committee for chancellor, which Erdogan co-chairs with Leonard as one of its members.

“It’s my pleasure to present this award to two-hard working faculty members who do so much for UH Hilo,” said Chancellor Rose Tseng in making the presentation. “Sevki and Barbara have both done a lot to strengthen faculty governance and ensure that we all work together to make this as good a University as it can be.”

The Distinguished Service Award for Improving Student Life went to Iva Goldman, chair and associate professor of communication.

Goldman’s supporters say being a professor is not merely a job, but part of her identity as she interacts with the world through her discipline. She connects students to campus and community activities and programs that enhance their learning by incorporating those elements into her course content. Goldman volunteers as a department advisor, staffs the department for registration, and is a favorite reference for many.

“This nominee once said that her goal was to be the kind of professor that parents hoped their children would meet when they went away to college: someone who could be a resource beyond the classroom,” wrote Communication Lecturer Christine Leonard-Osterwalder in nominating Goldman.

Entomology Professor Lorna Tsutsumi received the Pulama Ike Award, which honors an individual who has made significant contributions to developing and promoting the mission and spirit of the University.

Tsutsumi is credited with developing in collaboration with students a number of value added honey and bees wax products including lip balms, lotions, seasonings, foods, an award winning mead/honey wine and a recipe book. Many are now being sold under the UH trade name Kulanui. Frequently published in journals and extension publications and featured at public presentations, she has worked with the State Department of Agriculture to develop control methods for little fire ants, mites and eventually beetles.

“Lorna has spent many long evening hours over a period of years, working with students to develop these value added food products,” said Soil Science Professor Bruce Mathews. “She has also been an invaluable University and community resource in the areas of pest control and monitoring, making her a most deserving recipient of this award.”

The Koichi and Taniyo Taniguchi Award for Excellence and Innovation, which recognizes creativity in teaching, scholarship, and artistic production at UH Hilo, was presented to Professor Richard Crowe from the Physics and Astronomy Department, and Shawn Laatsch from the `Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi. Since 2008, they have developed and perfected the use of `Imiloa’s state-of-the-art 3D-capable planetarium to teach general astronomy.

“The team has developed amazing 3D programs that literally bring the study of the stars to life for students, and enhance their learning in ways impossible to achieve in conventional classrooms,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Randy Hirokawa. “More importantly, the technology they have developed is sustainable and will instill enthusiasm and appreciation for many astronomy students to come.”

The Student Employee of the Year Award was presented to Colin Phifer, a graduate student, who works in the Office of Research. Interim Vice Chancellor for Research Dan Brown said Phifer’s background and comprehensive portfolio of accomplishments made him an easy choice for employment.

“He is a dedicated, responsible worker who follows through on tasks, works independently, and takes on additional work when he sees that something needs doing,” Brown said in nominating Phifer.

The Excellence in Building and Grounds Maintenance Award, presented to a building and grounds maintenance employee who has made significant contributions to the University, was awarded to Janice Ho Chee. She is credited with significant physical improvements to the building that houses the English Language Institute (ELI) and its surrounding area.

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