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UH Hilo Chancellor's Blog Posts

UH Hilo College of Pharmacy graduates find jobs quickly, prove value in competitive market

According to a survey conducted by the college’s Department of Student Services, more than a third of the graduates who found work so far accepted jobs that allow them to stay in Hawaiʻi.

State Rep. Jerry Chang (center) with faculty and students of the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy.
John Pezzuto, dean of the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Pharmacy announced this week that recent graduates of the program have been hired for jobs that require a PharmD degree in 16 states as well as Guam and Washington D.C. at various retail chains, community pharmacies and hospitals. According to a survey conducted by the college’s Department of Student Services, more than a third of the graduates who found work so far accepted jobs that allow them to stay in Hawaiʻi.

Upon their graduation in May 2011, 66 percent of the recent graduates reported that they have obtained a job or were working in a paid residency. The average salary for graduates working full-time but not in a residency program is $117,000.

“These numbers show the breadth of impact our inaugural graduates are already making since graduating just three months ago,” Dean John Pezzuto said. “Their remarkable success at securing jobs before taking the exam for licensure confirms that theses new pharmacists have hit the ground running and will continue to make us proud.”

With a 95 percent response rate, 80 out of 84 graduating PharmDs responded to the Graduating Student Surveys. They answered questions about what they will be doing after graduation and were asked how they thought CoP did in preparing them for a career in pharmacy.

Preliminary results from the surveys also found:

  • 24 percent of the class applied for the residency match program
  • 95 percent of those who applied received at least one interview
  • 53 percent of those who applied received a residency job offer
  • 59 percent of the respondents to the survey were Hawaiʻi residents for tuition purposes during the spring 2011 semester
  • 60 percent of these Hawaiʻi resident respondents stated they had either secured employment in a job that required a PharmD or were working in a paid residency

Inaugural CoP alumni will be working in: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Guam, Hawaiʻi, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington DC, and Wisconsin. They accepted jobs at the Children’s National Medical Center, CVS, Fred Myer, GE Nuclear, Guam Memorial Hospital, Heartland Regional Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, K-VAT Food City, Menehune Pharmacy, Marsh, Mina Pharmacy, Palos Community Hospital, Roe RX, Safeway, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Target, UH Hilo College of Pharmacy, Walgreens and Wal-Mart.

The graduates also are working in several highly competitive pharmacy residency positions throughout the nation in order to gain intensive training in health care settings. Residencies are often a requirement for employment in hospital pharmacy practice or as a faculty member at a pharmacy school. Locations include the Phoenix Indian Medical Center and the Banner Baywood Medical Center and Heart Hospital in Arizona, UH Hilo College of Pharmacy, Intermountain Healthcare in Utah, and Palos Community Hospital and Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Illinois.

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UH Hilo unveils new Sciences and Technology Building

“The Sciences and Technology Building will attract scholarly teachers and researchers, which will encourage public and private agencies to partner with us to develop joint research and educational initiatives.” -Chancellor Donald Straney

Celebrating today are (L-R) Luoluo Hong, vice chancellor for student affairs; Gerald DeMello, director of university relations; Marcia Sakai, vice chancellor for administrative affairs; Kenny Simmons, vice chancellor for academic affairs; Donald Straney, chancellor; and Gail Makuakane-Lundin, executive assistant to the chancellor. Photo by Robbyn Peck

A blessing and dedication was held today for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo new Sciences and Technology Building.

UH Hilo’s new Sciences and Technology Building. Photo by Robbyn Peck

“This facility will complement the Big Island’s living, learning laboratory by significantly enhancing student learning, teaching and research,” said Chancellor Donald Straney. “It will also attract scholarly teachers and researchers, which will encourage public and private agencies to partner with us to develop joint research and educational initiatives.”

The $25 million building, spans more than 42,000 square feet and fulfills the need for additional classrooms, office space and new state-of-the-art laboratories for UH Hilo’s expanding physics, astronomy and chemistry programs. Key features include an auditorium that seats in excess of 140, along with smaller rooms of 60 and 24 seats.

In addition to the tenant programs, the building’s facilities will accommodate classes in biology, math, geography, history and communication. Based on projections, the building will serve more than 1,700 students in various classroom venues daily.

UH President MRC Greewood (r) attended the event.

“This is a game changer for the programs that will take up residence in the new building,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Randy Hirokawa. “Their growth helped fuel our enrollment gains dating back to the late 1990s. Now they will have the state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories they need to not only maintain their level of excellence, but step up to the next level.”

The event was attended by a host of elected state, county and university officials, including Governor Neil Abercrombie and UH President M.R.C. Greenwood. Abercrombie’s appearance marked his first official visit to UH Hilo since being elected governor last year and underscored his support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and professional workforce development in Hawaiʻi.

Governor Neil Abercrombie and Senator Malama Solomon untie the maile at the doors of the new Sciences and Technology Building during today’s blessing ceremonies. (L-R) UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney, UH President MRC Greenwood, Gov. Abercrombie, Sen. Solomon, Rep. Jerry Chang, and Sen. Gil Kahele. Photo by Robbyn Peck.

“Governor Abercrombie has made it clear in public statements that he sees the Big Island as one of the state’s key economic engines for the next decade, with UH Hilo playing a leading role,” said University Relations Director Gerald De Mello. “STEM education will be critical to the success of that effort and this building provides us with the cutting edge tools to deliver the quality of learning necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

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Invitation to UH Hilo Alumni: Talk Story with Chancellor

Chancellor Donald Straney
and the
University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Alumni & Friends Association
cordially invite you to a

Talk Story with Chancellor

Friday, August 26, 2011 • 5:30 p.m.
Keauhou Beach Resort, Ballroom 1
78-6740 Ali‘i Drive, Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i

To reserve your FREE ticket(s)*, please
RSVP by August 8, 2011.

Ever wonder what happened to your classmates from UH Hilo?
Wondering what’s new with your alma mater?

Join us for a talk story session with our new UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney.
Reconnect with fellow alumni and hear an update on the latest at UH Hilo.
Enjoy an evening of heavy pūpū and no-host cocktails.

To RSVP or for more information, call the
UH Hilo Marketing & Alumni Office at 808.974.7501/7643

* Limit one adult guest due to limited capacity.

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Video: UH Hilo Adopt-a-Beehive program supports research and healthy apiary practices in Hawai‘i

“This is a great example of how the smallest things in an ecosystem really matter. Participation in the beehive program is a down payment on food security.” -Chancellor Straney

Dignitaries gathered at the UH Hilo Farm Laboratory on June 25 for the groundbreaking of the bee garden: (l-r) Dean William Steiner (UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management); Kekoa Yasuda (student beekeeper); Chancellor Don Straney; Dr. Lorna Tsutsumi (CAFNRM); State Rep. Clift Tsuji; Chef Alan Wong; and State Senator Gil Kahele.

Chef Alan Wong has teamed up with University of Hawai‘i at Hilo to build awareness of the critical plight of honey bees and to promote local solutions to sustaining the honey bee industry. You can help by adopting a beehive at UH Hilo and supporting the research and development of healthy beehive practices in Hawaii!

For more info on how you can help out, visit:

Related post: Adopt-A-Beehive program to support research and development of healthy apiary practices in Hawai‘i

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Hamakua celebrates launch of rural outreach program at UH Hilo’s North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center

UH Hilo’s North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center in Honoka‘a now offers Hamakua residents access to 38 state agencies.

Hamakua celebrates the launch of new rural outreach services now available at UH Hilo's North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center in Honoka‘a.

HONOKA‘A – Hamakua residents will now receive state outreach services from 38 agencies through a new project located at UH Hilo’s North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center in Honoka‘a. The community gathered on Thursday to celebrate the launch of the new project. The Rural Outreach Services initiative is a partnership between federal, state, county governments, and private non-profit agencies. The wide range of services include, among other issues, job training, health care, housing, and agriculture.

“Rural Outreach Services is an initiative that will turn lives around,” said Rep. Mark Nakashima, a member of the initiative’s coordinating committee, who also sits on the advisory board for NHERC. “Because of the long distances that people need to travel on the Big Island, many residents have not been getting the services they need, whether it is job-related, housing, or even health care.”

The Rural Outreach Services initiative is a public-private partnership of agencies supported by the DLIR Workforce Development Division, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Hamakua Partners in Eldercare, Hawai‘i County’s Kapulena Lands project, and the Department of Education’s East and West Hawai’i Community School for Adults.

“We are creating an opportunity to better serve the rural communities of North Hawai‘i, which will be a model for other rural areas across the state,” said DLIR Director Dwight Takamine, also a member of the coordinating committee for Rural Outreach Services. “This is a truly community-driven effort to address barriers to services by empowering rural communities.”

Services will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis, with no appointments necessary.

During the month of July, one agency will be available at the center on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Agency availability will increase beginning August. For more information and a schedule of upcoming services, workshops and conferences, contact the North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center at 775-8890. A calendar of events is posted at:

The first workshop on entrepreneurial opportunities will take place at the center on July 27, 2011. It is being provided by Hawai‘i County’s Department of Research and Development and the Small Business Development Center West Hawai‘i and will include one-on-one consultations on-site.

The following agencies are participants in the Rural Outreach Services initiative at UH Hilo’s outreach center in Honoka‘a:

  • Arc of Hilo
  • Arc of Kona
  • Catholic Charities
  • Center for Agricultural Success
  • County of Hawai‘i—Aging & Disability Resource Center
  • County of Hawai‘i—Coordinated Services for the Elderly
  • County of Hawai‘i—Office of Housing & Community Development
  • County of Hawai‘i—Human Resources
  • County of Hawai‘i—Research & Development
  • Department of Defense (Hawai‘i), Office of Veterans Services
  • Department of Education, Hilo & Kona Community School for Adults
  • Department of Labor & Industrial Relations—Disability Compensation Division, Hawai‘i District Office, Unemployment Insurance Division, Workforce Development Division, Wage Standards Division, Occupational Safety & Health Division, Veteran Employment & Training Service
  • Department of Human Services, Vocational Rehabilitation Division
  • Hawai‘i Center for Independent Living
  • Hawai‘i Community College, Office of Continuing Education & Training
  • Hawai‘i County Economic Opportunity Council
  • Hawai‘i Island Beacon Community
  • Hawai‘i Disability Rights Center
  • Hawai‘i First Federal Credit Union
  • Hawai‘i Home Ownership Center
  • Hawai‘i Island Adult Care, Inc.
  • Hawai‘i Island Workforce & Economic Development Ohana
  • Hawai‘i Small Business Development Center
  • Hope Services of Hawai’i
  • Five Mountains Hawai’i
  • North Hawai‘i Drug Free Coalition
  • University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, North Hawai’i Education & Research Center
  • Services for Seniors
  • UH Hilo, College of Pharmacy
  • Unites Stated Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Workforce Solutions
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