Big Island Video News reports “80 new doctors of pharmacy were unleashed into the world in Hilo on Saturday… an historic first for the University of Hawaii-Hilo’s College of Pharmacy.”
Remarks by UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney
2011 UH Hilo Awards and Recognition Celebration
May 3, 2011
Campus Center Plaza
Aloha and Welcome to the UH Hilo Awards and Recognition Ceremony.
As we gather to recognize our honorees, I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize and say “thank you” to all of you. It has been almost a year since I first arrived at UH Hilo, and it’s been an extraordinary learning experience. I’ve found a good deal to admire about our faculty and staff and our entire university community. Your dedication contributes greatly to our success and it’s been an absolute pleasure working with you to move UH Hilo forward.
Today, we’ll recognize our recent retirees, our faculty and staff years of service, and we’ll also announce the winners of this year’s UH Hilo Awards. Before we start with our ceremonies, I’d like to briefly update you on a few things.
The strategic planning process is drawing to a close, and we currently have a draft plan that is widely supported on campus. I’d like to thank everyone for your participation. By the end of spring semester we should be distributing the working draft. Next year, we’ll be using it to adjust the course of our university through implementation.
New Scholarship Program
Planning is underway for a very exciting new development: the launch of an ambitious new scholarship program at UH Hilo one year from now. Details are still being worked out, so I am not at liberty to reveal the donors. Funding 4-year scholarships for ten entering students beginning with the 2012-13 academic year. Scholarships are reserved Big Island high school graduates who have limited financial resources and are first in their families to attend college. Ten scholars will start UH Hilo in 2012, with ten more added each year until program reaches 40 participants annually. Just as exciting, each cohort of students will receive specialized support services and the opportunity to participate in four summers of uniquely designed programming here on the Big Island and elsewhere. Our own faculty and staff will be involved in the delivery of these programs and services.
As you know, the current fiscal situation in the state presents a challenge to implementing the changes the campus would like to see. The budget challenge is statewide: state government needs to make up a $1.3 billion shortfall in the next biennium. UH Hilo has already taken a 24.5% reduction in general funds over the last three years. Last week we learned how we fared in the legislature for CIP. We got 50% funding for student housing ($16 million) and permission to get the other 50% from revenue bonds. The legislature is also giving us $4 million towards the renovations and addition to Hale Kanilehua to accommodate living/learning centers. Please join us for the all-campus meeting on the budget set for Thurs., May 5 at 11:30am in Wentworth 1.
We’re confident UH Hilo will exceed this year’s graduation targets set for us by the UH System.
Dr. Hank C.K. Wuh, a Honolulu entrepreneur and leader in Hawaiʻi’s biotechnology field, will deliver the keynote address.
The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo College of Pharmacy will award its first doctor of pharmacy degrees at spring commencement on Saturday.
Dean John Pezzuto describes the class of 2011 as “dynamic and self-driven pioneers.” He said their graduation will clearly be marked as one of the most joyous days in the institution’s history.
“Every student pharmacist in our college is extraordinary, otherwise they would not be members of our program. And this first graduating class has set the bar amazingly high for future classes to match their scholarship, leadership and citizenship,” Pezzuto said. “They embraced their role as eldest among our student `ohana with zeal and passion. As their dean I am proud and humbled.”
The 84 pharmacy students are among 607 candidates for various degrees and/or certificates, which also include the colleges of Arts and Sciences (402), Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (27), Business and Economics (47), and Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language (23). Twenty-four others are candidates for various post-graduate honors.
Dr. Hank C.K. Wuh, a Honolulu entrepreneur and leader in Hawaiʻi’s biotechnology field, delivers the keynote address. An orthopedic surgeon and inventor, Wuh has led the development of over 20 biomedical and consumer healthcare products from concept to global commercialization.
Valerie Dionne, who receives bachelor of arts degrees in political science and administration of justice, serves as student speaker. A native of Arkansas, she has maintained a 3.91 GPA since leaving her job at the Hawaiʻi Government Employees Association to enroll at UH Hilo in 2008.
A member of the National Political Science Honor Society Pi Sigma Alpha, Dionne was named the UH Hilo Chapter’s Most Outstanding Student for the 2010-2011 school year. She has made the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s List each semester and is the recipient of numerous scholarships. She is active in campus and community activities and will attend the William S. Richardson School of Law at UH Mānoa in fall 2011.
Commencement, to be held this Saturday, May 14, at Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium, begins at 9:00 a.m.
“When you consider the data from the economic impact study that shows the college brings in more than $50 million a year to the state, there’s no question that this is an investment that will more than pay for itself virtually in no time.” –State Representative Clift Tsuji
The design phase is completed for a new state-of-the-art building for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo’s College of Pharmacy.
“We cannot overstate the importance of this building to Hawaiʻi’s future as the hub of health care and discovery,” said John Pezzuto, dean of the college. “It will also allow us to give our students the best possible professional pharmacy education and move forward with accreditation.”
WCIT Architecture of Honolulu designed the building, which will cost an estimated $66 million. In 2010, WCIT won an architecture award for the design of UH Hilo’s Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikolani College of Hawaiian Language building.
WCIT President Rob Iopa said the design approach blends environment, place and architecture unique to the needs of the College of Pharmacy yet within the framework of other buildings on campus.
“WCIT Architecture has done a beautiful job designing the Hawaiian languages building, but I want to stress we are not just looking for window dressing,” said Debra Fitzsimons, vice chancellor for administrative affairs. “I’m confident their design of the College of Pharmacy will complement our existing structures on the UH Hilo campus while giving them the proper educational vessel they require.”
The design phase was funded in part by $5.5 million from the state in 2009. Funds are now being sought from the state and others for construction. During a recent site visit, a group from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, the national accrediting agency responsible for pharmacy schools, said the lack of a permanent building for the college is a serious concern.
Pezzuto said the cost of construction is more than offset by the economic benefits the college brings to the state of Hawaiʻi. State Representative Clift Tsuji agrees.
“When you consider the data from the economic impact study that shows the college brings in more than $50 million a year to the state, there’s no question that this is an investment that will more than pay for itself virtually in no time,” said Tsuji (D-South Hilo, Panaewa, Puna, Keaau, Kurtistown).
The new pharmacy college facilities will be located on campus at the corner of Komohana and Nowelo streets.
UH Hilo’s College of Pharmacy is the only school of pharmacy in the Pacific region.
I am pleased to announce that the search for a permanent University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs is moving forward. I am committed to an extensive national search to identify candidates with the experience, vision and energy to develop and advance strategic academic priorities at UH Hilo.
We now have a well-rounded and representative search committee, recruited in consultation with the UH Hilo Faculty Congress, Hanakahi Council, and UH Hilo Student Association, to advise me on the selection:
- Norman Arancon, Assistant Professor, Horticulture
- Lari-Anne Au, Librarian
- Daniel Brown (committee chair), Interim Vice Chancellor for Research
- Jason Cabral, Assistant Professor, Hawaiian Language and Literature
- Linda Connelly, Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Emmeline de Pillis, Professor, Management
- Devaki Drozario, UHHSA Representative
- Gabriele Matull-Worst, Associate Registrar
- John Pezzuto, Dean, College of Pharmacy
- Cheryl Ramos, Associate Professor, Psychology
- Nicole Ryan, Academic Support Specialist, North Hawaii Education and Research Center
- David Sing, Director, Na Pua No‘eau Center for Gifted and Talented Native Hawaiian Children
Many thanks to Dan Brown for agreeing to chair the committee. A national search firm will help identify a diverse pool of qualified candidates and will generally support the search process.
I would also like to express my thanks to Kenith Simmons for serving as interim VCAA during the search process.