Welina mai UH Hilo ‘ohana,
It is my honor to be able to welcome you to the fall 2019 semester as your new chancellor! I have had a busy few weeks meeting staff and community members and learning as much about UH Hilo as quickly as I can, but I am not done yet. I will be conducting a listening tour over the course of the next several months to hear about your hopes and dreams for our campus and students, so that we can chart a course together.
The opening days of the fall term are my second favorite season of the academic year. (Commencement, of course, is my favorite!) Today we welcome new students to campus. The hard work of our admissions staff and others has paid off in that our entering class is larger than last year’s. Now it is up to all of us to engage these students, keep them excited about their courses and degree programs, and help them succeed. I know they are in good hands.
In my previous messages this summer and in the communications you have received from the vice chancellors, you have heard about some of the challenges that the current term may bring to us and our students. Faculty, do not hesitate to reach out to the deans for assistance in supporting our students through the challenges that they may face articulating their complex emotions and thoughts about Maunakea or any other controversial topic that may come their way. We are fortunate indeed to be working in higher education in this moment in the history of our island, our state, and our nation. At times when emotions run high and people become entrenched in positions, as educators we bring skills of listening, learning, and civil discourse to our work and our relationships with one another.
I look forward to meeting more of you in the coming weeks. Thank you for everything you do for our students and for UH Hilo.
Photo of University Classroom Building by Raiatea Arcuri.