Office of the Chancellor

Past Head Administrators at UH Hilo


Frank T. InouyeFrank T. Inouye served as Director 1952-1957

Frank T. Inouye

BA 1945 and MA 1946, University of Cincinnati; PhD 1951, University of Southern California.

The first director of the University of Hawaiʻi-Hilo Branch, Inouye oversees the opening of a new permanent campus on Lanikaula Street with the construction of College Hall and a gymnasium. The two-year school has 155 students enrolled in arts and sciences courses in education, business administration, and engineering.

Roger L. MosleyRoger L. Mosley served as Director 1958-1960

Roger L. Mosley

BA 1951, University of Washington; MBA 1953, Harvard University.

Named director of UH-Hilo Branch, the name of which changes to UH-Hilo Campus. The year Hawaiʻi becomes a state (Aug. 1959), Mosley oversees the UH-Hilo Campus’s accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

R. Burl YarberryR. Burl Yarberry served as Director 1960-1963

R. Burl Yarberry

BA 1950, Western State College; MA 1953 University of Arizona.

Under Yarberry’s leadership, UH-Hilo Campus expands to a full 35 acres with completion of a new 13,000 volume library. The “Little Rainbows” number 381 full-time students offered some 92 courses. A modern dormitory and new tennis courts are completed.

Kaoru NodaKaoru Noda served as Director 1963-1970

Kaoru Noda

BA 1950, Grinnell College; MS 1953 and PhD 1956, Iowa State University.

There are now over 600 students. In 1969, approval is granted to add fourth-year classes; the four-year component is renamed Hilo College, which is merged with the renamed two-year Hawaiʻi Community College (formerly Hawaiʻi Tech School) to form the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.


Paul M. MiwaPaul M. Miwa served as Chancellor 1970-1975

Paul M. Miwa

BA 1952, MPA 1954, and PhD 1962, Syracuse University.

Miwa is the first chancellor at UH Hilo. Under his leadership, a new dormitory is built, enrollment tops 1,000, and the library triples in size. The first four-year class graduates in 1971. There is a surge of hires, including deans, directors, and a librarian. The College of Agriculture is established.

Edwin H. MookiniEdwin H. Mookini served as Chancellor 1976-1979

Edwin H. Mookini

BS 1947 and MS 1948, University of Chicago; PhD 1964, University of California-Los Angeles.

Mookini oversees the opening of the Campus Center, housing a cafeteria and student activities and multipurpose function rooms (1975). UH Hilo enrollment increases to 1,700 students with 103 full-time faculty. The Vulcan men’s basketball team wins its first NAIA district title.

Steven R. MitchellSteven R. Mitchell served as Chancellor 1979-1984

Steven R. Mitchell

BA 1956, Western Michigan University; MS 1957 and PhD 1961, University of Wisconsin.

Hilo College is renamed the College of Arts and Sciences. The women’s volleyball team wins its first NAIA championship en route to becoming a dominant force in women’s volleyball nationally. The new athletics complex and gymnasium opens. The Edwin Mookini Library and Edith Kanakaole Hall open. Vulcan men’s golf and baseball teams win district championships.

no photo availableRalpha M. Miwa (no photo available) served as Chancellor from 1984-1986.

Ralph M. Miwa

BA 1948 and MA 1950 UH; PhD 1953 Johns Hopkins University.

Appointed acting chancellor in July of 1984. Enrollment tops 3,600.

Edward J. KormondyEdward J. Kormondy served as Chancellor 1986-1993

Edward J. Kormondy

BA 1950, Tusculum College; MA 1951 and PhD 1955 University of Michigan.

Enrollment grows to 3,960. New dormitory and dining hall complex is built. First interisland television transmission of a college course. UH Hilo West Hawaiʻi is established (Kona, enrollment 600). Major outreach centers are established in Hawaiian language, the study of volcanoes, native Hawaiian childhood development, and small business. Ground breaking for UH Hilo University Park of Science and Technology. Hawaiʻi Community College separates from UH Hilo.

Kenneth PerrinKenneth Perrin served as Chancellor 1993-1998

Kenneth Perrin

BA 1959, Occidental College; MA 1964, California State University-Long Beach; PhD 1969, Stanford University.

Perrin is faced with severe budget reductions and progress at the university is slowed.

Rose Y. TsengRose Y. Tseng served as Chancellor 1998-2010

Rose Y. Tseng

BS 1964, Kansas State University; MS 1966 and PhD 1968, University of California-Berkeley.

Tseng is the first woman to hold the post of head administrator at UH Hilo. Enrollment increases 43 percent. Extramural funding increases 600 percent. Campus expands with first new classroom, laboratory, and student life buildings in over 20 years. Several new undergraduate programs are established in addition to the first graduate and doctoral programs. Public/private partnerships are developed to benefit local community, state and region.

Donald StraneyDonald Straney served as Chancellor 2010-2017

Donald O. Straney

BS and MS 1973, Michigan State University; PhD 1980, University of California, Berkeley.

Baccalaureate, graduate and doctoral programs are developed that impact the quality of life for island residents, notably in health care, teaching, and heritage management. Indigenous education and services in support of ethnic and gender diversity in student population are advanced. Three new buildings open: Student Services, ‘Alahonua residence hall, and Hale‘ōlelo for the College of Hawaiian Language. Funding is secured for permanent building for the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy. Principles of sustainability are applied to infrastructure, energy use, and curriculum. Access to higher education for residents is expanded through partnership with Hawaiʻi Community College, more outreach to local high school students, and Early College program.

Marcia SakaiMarcia Sakai served as Interim Chancellor from 2017-2019.

Marcia Sakai

Master of Arts in Mathematics (1971), Master of Arts in Economics (1984), and Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (1985) from UH Mānoa.

The doctor of nursing practice program is granted permanent status. A certificate in data science and an aeronautical sciences degree program are launched in response to workforce needs. Steps begin toward a certificate in sustainability and a certificate in unmanned aircraft systems. Natural and health sciences programs are consolidated into new College of Natural and Health Sciences, and the Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education Program becomes the first teacher education program in the world to receive accreditation from the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium.

Source of information for Frank T. Inouye through Kenneth Perrin from the book: Inouye, Frank T. and Edward J. Kormondy. The University of Hawaiʻi-Hilo: A College in the Making. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2001.