Master Navigator Kālepa Baybayan to keynote UH Hilo Fall Commencement

Kālepa Baybayan has captained and navigated the Hawaiian deep-sea voyaging canoes Hōkūle‘a, Hawai‘iloa, and Hōkūalaka‘i, and serves as navigator-in-residence at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center.

Kālepa Baybayan
Kālepa Baybayan

Master Navigator Kālepa Baybayan will be keynote speaker at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Fall Commencement.

Baybayan holds a master of education degree, is fluent in the Hawaiian language, and has been captain and navigator of the Hawaiian deep-sea voyaging canoes Hōkūle‘a, Hawai‘iloa, and Hōkūalaka‘i. He has been an active participant in the Polynesian voyaging renaissance since 1975 and has sailed on all the major voyages of Hōkūalaka‘i throughout the South Pacific, the west coast, and Japan.

He took part in the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, which, during its first three years ending in 2017, traveled 42,000 nautical miles, visited 150 ports in more than 20 countries. During the voyage, Babayan helped train a new generation of navigators, educators, scientists, and community stewards.

Babayan currently serves as navigator-in-residence at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i, an outreach and educational center of UH Hilo, where he develops wayfinding activities, curriculum, and education materials.

In 2007, Babayan and four other Hawaiian men were initiated into the Order of Pwo, a three thousand year old society of master deep-sea navigators by their teacher, Master Navigator Mau Piailug on the island of Satawal. This opportunity allowed for the very first time, non-islanders, access into this exclusive and elite hierarchy of master navigators.

Baybayan received his bachelor of arts in Hawaiian studies from UH Hilo in 1997.


UH Hilo fall commencement will take place on Saturday, Dec. 16, 9:00 a.m. at the university’s Vulcan Gym.

To read more about commencement, see UH Hilo media release.