The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo celebrated 2023 Spring Commencement on May 13 at Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium. The ceremony also was livestreamed (recorded for viewing). Almost 700 students petitioned for degrees and/or certificates and for various post-graduate credentials, including the university’s first graduates of the aeronautical sciences program.
Candidates represented the College of Arts and Sciences; Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikolani College of Hawaiian Language; College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management; College of Natural and Health Sciences; College of Business and Economics; and Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.
The university posthumously awarded the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to legendary kumu hula and composer Edith Kekuhikuhipu‘uoneonāali‘iōkohala Kenao Kanaka‘ole (1913-1979) in recognition of her contributions toward the preservation and revitalization of the Hawaiian language and culture. Last weekend, the campus and local community celebrated Kanaka‘ole’s life with a large public event.
Keynote speaker at commencement was Justina Taft Mattos, associate professor of drama at UH Hilo. Sean Kauāakeakua “Kauā” Segundo, an undergraduate receiving his second bachelor’s degree, with a double major in Hawaiian language and linguistics, was student speaker. His remarks were given in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian language) with an English summary in the commencement program.
Special guests included UH Regent Alapaki Nahale-a and UH System Vice President for Academic Strategy Debora Halbert.