University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Bonnie Irwin welcomed several members of the UH Alumni Board to campus on Tuesday, July 25. Jason Haruki (UH Alumni president), Amy Hennessey (first vice president), Sharene Urakami-Oyama (board member), and Arnold Kishi (assistant secretary) were greeted with a kīpaepae welcoming ceremony on the Campus Center Plaza, followed by a tour of campus and a visit to the UH Hilo Agricultural Farm Laboratory in Pana‘ewa. That evening at the Hilo Yacht Club, the group met with members of the former affiliate Alumni and Friends.
Members of the UH Alumni Board are making the rounds and visiting campuses throughout the statewide 10-campus UH System. They are familiarizing themselves with the campuses, experiencing some of the programs, and hearing about updates and plans. This will help them better support the mission of UH and support the interests of their members.
“I always enjoy having visitors to our campus,” says UH Hilo Chancellor Irwin. “There is so much to be proud of here. The UH Alumni Board members asked good questions and really made the most of their time with us.”
The American Cancer Society in Hilo is holding its annual Relay for Life event this Saturday, July 15, 5:00 p.m. to midnight at Wong Stadium. Food will be available for purchase throughout the event (team fundraisers and food trucks). Activities include music, relays, dancing, tug-of-war, and….. from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. the Dunk Tank with “celebrity dunkees” including UH Hilo’s Chancellor Bonnie Irwin! $5 for two throws or $31 for a slam dunk! It’s $31 because it the 31st relay in Hilo 🙂
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.
The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo co-hosted a day of celebration May 6 to honor the life and legacy of legendary educator and cultural icon Edith Kanaka‘ole.
Aunty Edith worked as a teacher at Hawai‘i Community College from 1971 to 1974 and at UH Hilo from 1974 to 1979. At both schools, she created courses and seminars on subjects including Hawaiian language, ethnobotany, Polynesian history, genealogy and Hawaiian chant and mythology, laying the foundation for Hawaiian studies programs in higher education that continue to grow and expand to this day.
Saturday’s “He Ka‘ao No Aunty Edith Kanaka‘ole” events started at the campus Performing Arts Center with a kīpaepae (welcoming ceremony) and hoʻokupu (ceremonial presentation of gifts and tributes) and was livestreamed on YouTube. The event was co-hosted by Hawai‘i Community College, the United States Mint, the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum, and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. The celebration then continued with the unveiling of a mural of Aunty Edith at Edith Kanaka‘ole Hall, along with hula and other activities.
The ceremonies held at the Performing Arts Center tied into the release of a U.S. coin honoring Kanaka‘ole. On March 27, the United States Mint released into circulation a coin from the American Women Quarters™ series honoring the cultural icon. She is one of five American women being honored in new quarters in 2023 as part of the American Women Quarters™ Program. Each year, the U.S. secretary of the treasury selects the honorees following consultation with the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum, the National Women’s History Museum, and the Congressional Bipartisan Women’s Caucus.
At the opening event, Chancellor Irwin delivered remarks about the mural of Edith Kanakaole created on campus this week by local artist Kamea Hadar in collaboration with Kūha‘o Zane who is Edith Kanaka‘ole’s grandson and creative director at Sig Zane Designs, a local textile and clothing business in Hilo renowned for a signature aesthetic rooted in Native Hawaiian culture. The mural was created with the support of UH Hilo Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Services.
“As a faculty member of both Hawai‘i Community College and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Aunty Edith openly shared her deep ancestral knowledge passed down to her through her familia hula lineage,” says Irwin. “Her early contributions to the university’s Hawaiian language program and numerous community initiatives have set a foundation that continues to be built on today. It is an immense honor to share her story through this mural and have her portrait serve as a prominent feature on campus.”
Located at Edith Kanaka‘ole Hall, which was built in 1982 and named after the beloved kumu hula, the mural was unveiled at ceremonies shortly after the event at the performing arts center. The 1,000 or so attendees then enjoyed hula performances and other cultural activities.
The mural project at Edith Kanaka‘ole Hall will continue over the next few months in different areas of the building but as one contiguous mural with thematic design elements created by Kūha‘o Zane, who collaborated on his grandmother’s portrait.
“UH Hilo students will be an integral part of the process by contributing to the mural throughout the summer,” says Chancellor Irwin.
Based on Native Hawaiian cultural values, the program’s Ka Lama Ku Awards recognize contributions students have made in their formal and informal leadership roles on campus and acknowledge those individuals who show strong evidence of future leadership potential.
“It was such a delight to see the energy and creativity honored in our student leaders,” says UH Hilo Chancellor Bonnie Irwin, who attended the event. “In addition to gaining valuable experience in leading these initiatives for the campus, it was clear that the students had also become good friends through working collaboratively on shared goals.”
The following students and groups are the 2023 Ka Lama Ku Award recipients.
Alaka‘i Award: Leadership – Haley Williams
Kuleana Award: Accountable and Responsible – Carley Atkins
Mālama Award: Taking Care of Others and Community – Lillian Lewis
‘Ike Pāpālua Award: To Have the Gift of Vision – Mekaila Pasco
Laulima Award: No Task is Too Big When Done By All – Russell-Jearuss Ronolo
Alaka‘i Group Award: Leadership – First Year Experience
‘Ike Pāpālua Group Award: To Have the Gift of Vision – Ka Pouhana Mentoring Program
Laulima Group Award: No Task is Too Big When Done By All – Psi Chi Psychology Honors Society Club