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Column by the Chancellor in UH Hilo’s Newsletter: Ka Lono Hanakahi, December 2011

Message from University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
Ka Lono Hanakahi, UH Hilo’s Faculty and Staff Newsletter 
December 2011 

As we finish up the fall semester and prepare for winter break, I want to extend my deepest appreciation for all your hard work during a busy and challenging year. Thank you for your dedication to our students, to our university community, and to our Big Island community.

I want to especially thank all of you for working together on the budget challenges. In the face of an uncertain economy, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo enrolled the largest number of students in history this fall. This demand for our programs tells us that access to higher education is more valued than ever before. UH Hilo faculty, staff, and students have worked very well together as an ‘ohana and as a result, despite great challenges, we have protected the instructional core of the campus and direct services to our students. I fully understand that this came at great sacrifice to many of you. I’ve learned a lot from you about the Hawaiian value of lokahi and about working together collaboratively in the spirit of unity.

While the nation faces difficult times, we are all so lucky to live and work in such a beautiful and vibrant place. I am proud of what our students are accomplishing. I’m in awe of the high caliber of teaching, research and outreach done by our faculty; our students and our surrounding community all benefit from the excellent work done by our faculty. Our staff is second to none for professionalism in support of our entire campus. From my perspective—a bird’s eye view of our entire ‘ohana—UH Hilo is an incredibly strong university and I am proud to be part of it.

Our local community has also shown great support and generosity this past year to help us achieve our goals. Private support from donors is providing a critical margin of excellence and ensuring that our faculty members continue to challenge students to reach their highest level of achievement. This year, UH Hilo students are benefiting from the largest amount of private scholarship support in the history of this institution. In fiscal year 2011, UH Hilo raised $1,618,148, the largest number of private scholarship dollars in history. Between 2000 and 2011, UH Hilo’s scholarship endowment grew from $942,000 to $3.4 million.

At least 70 percent of UH Hilo’s 4,000+ students depend on some form of financial aid to fund the cost of attending the university. For first year students at UH Hilo, the percentage is even higher: 75 percent of freshmen are receiving financial aid. In fact, UH Hilo has the highest percentage of students receiving aid of any of the 10 campuses in the UH System.

It’s clear what a vitally important role our private donors play in ensuring the academic success of our students; scholarships support students to complete their education and contribute to their communities. Behind every scholarship there is an individual or a company that has a connection to UH Hilo and a desire to help our students. On behalf of the university community, I’d like to take this opportunity to express deep appreciation to our donors.

I will be hosting a Mahalo Celebration on Dec. 15 at 3:00-4:30 at the Campus Center Plaza. Please come join us for some ono food, good company and excellent entertainment!

I wish you and yours a safe and restful holiday. I look forward to working with you in the New Year.

Don Straney

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