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Tag: UH Hilo Community

UH Foundation Fall Calling Campaign is underway

Chancellor Irwin with group of students pose for photo.
Meeting with the student fundraisers to share information about various programs and activities at UH Hilo, Oct. 21, 2019, UH Foundation, Honolulu.

Aloha UH Hilo Faculty and Staff,

The annual UH Foundation Fall Calling Campaign has begun this month. I personally met with the student fundraisers to share information about our various programs and activities here at UH Hilo. I would like to take this opportunity to let you know that you may receive a call from our UH Foundation students who will begin the call by confirming or asking to update your contact information and then transition to ask for support for our campus initiatives. I encourage you to consider donating and supporting UH Hilo. Should you have any questions, please call Dale Hagadone at the Foundation: (808) 956-7357.

Bonnie D. Irwin

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Annual Hawai‘i Island United Way general campaign now underway

This is the time of year that we, as a university, come together to strengthen our community by pledging during the annual United Way General Campaign.


Aloha UH Hilo ‘Ohana,

For more than 50 years, Hawai‘i Island United Way, Inc. (HIUW) has been the cornerstone of our island’s health and human service community. Thanks to your annual monetary donation, HIUW is able to help those less fortunate or down on their luck in our community, nurture individuals and families, identify specific needs and fill them, and help build a safer and healthier community.

This is the time of year that we as a university come together to strengthen our community by pledging during the annual United Way General Campaign. Now, more than ever, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo ‘ohana can support to keep these life-changing programs alive on Hawai‘i Island. See how our response to past campaigns has positively impacted the services and resources at Educational, financial, and health benefits are extended to our families, friends and students through these agencies.

Please consider donating or pledging your support today! Pledge application forms were distributed to all campus units. Payroll deductions make it easy to give, and all donations make a difference here on Hawai‘i Island. Send your pledge form with your cash, check, credit card number or payroll deduction directly to Lei Kapono, Office of the Chancellor, by November 15, 2019. Additional forms are available.

Pūpūkahi I Holumua – Unite to Move Forward. Join in supporting diverse programs that are critical to the well-being of our communities.

Bonnie D. Irwin

D. Lei Kapono
Interim Assistant to the Chancellor and UH Hilo HIUW Coordinator

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Chancellor’s Monthly Column, Sept. 2019: The magic of higher education

The magic of higher education: When we are successful at it, we open the door to opportunity for individuals, families, and communities.

By Bonnie D. Irwin

Bonnie Irwin
Bonnie D. Irwin

The opening week of the fall semester is here! It’s second only to commencement week in its level of activity, enthusiasm, and hope for the future. Students are arriving to the campus of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo from across the state, nation, and the world as well as from down the street. UH Hilo rightly prides itself on the wide diversity of ethnic and cultural origins of our students. Indeed, The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked us last year as the most diverse public four-year university in the country.

Yet there is still one over-arching thing all these students have in common: the desire to better themselves and to provide a bright future for themselves and their families. And that is the magic of higher education when we are successful at it; we open the door to opportunity for individuals, families, and communities.

The UH Hilo Student Success Leadership Team has been hard at work both on recruiting students and keeping them here. We have bold goals for student success, and I am pleased to see so many good initiatives underway. We are continuing to work on pathways for students from UH community colleges into UH Hilo baccalaureate programs. We are creating more organized and intentional opportunities for community service and community-based research projects for our students. We are trying to expand employment opportunities for students on campus, so they can hone their job skills and build their resumés while helping their peers succeed.

Our new students were so excited to participate in First-Year Experience activities during Orientation last month. The campus community welcomed our newest Vulcans warmly with four days of activities—workshops, fairs, tours, shuttles, various socials, and a beautiful convocation ceremony—introducing them to our university and our community. The enthusiasm was palpable and I was honored to participate. Students are excited to be in college, excited to be at UH Hilo, and of course, a bit anxious about life at the university and how it might differ from the high school or community college they have come from.

We are also focusing on activities for continuing students: research experiences, internships, community service, study abroad. All of these provide valuable opportunities for students to apply what they are learning in class to real world situations. One of my goals for UH Hilo is to provide more of these opportunities for more students, so that they are competitive for good jobs and good graduate schools. At UH Hilo, they get the one-on-one attention that really enhances their learning, something larger schools cannot compete with.

Woven into all of this activity is a feeling of ‘ohana; our campus is relationship driven. We create lasting bonds and friendships among our students and between our students and members of the entire campus community, including faculty and staff, relationships that take them forward into life with the full support they need to succeed.

Thank you all for your support of our students! I am looking forward to the coming year.


Bonnie D. Irwin


Photo: New Vulcans on the Campus Center Plaza for the start of UH Hilo Student Orientation activities on Wednesday, Aug. 21. Nyssa Kushi, University Relations.

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Message from the Chancellor: Welcome to the Fall 2019 Semester!

Welina mai UH Hilo ‘ohana,

Bonnie Irwin
Bonnie D. Irwin

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.

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