First pharmacy doctorates to highlight UH Hilo spring commencement; Chipper Wichman to keynote, Carrie Soo Hoo student speaker

UH Hilo spring commencement will be held on Saturday, May 14, 2016, 9:00 a.m. at Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium.

The first two doctorates in pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo will be conferred at the university’s spring commencement on May 14. Susanne R. Youngren-Ortiz and Mayuramas “Jan” Sang-ngern are the first to complete the new doctoral program offered through the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.

Keynote at commencement is Charles R. “Chipper” Wichman, Jr, and student speaker is Carrie Soo Hoo.


Chipper Wichman
Chipper Wichman

Wichman is president and chief executive officer at the National Tropical Botanical Garden. He has dedicated his entire adult life to preserving the natural and cultural resources of Hawai’i, where he was born and raised. His work with the botanical garden began in 1976 when he conducted botanical surveys of Limahuli Valley and the Na Pali coast on Kaua‘i, leading to his discovery of many new plant species.

He also helped pioneer methods of rappelling down cliffs to hand pollinate species threatened with extinction.

Among Wichman’s greatest accomplishments is the creation of the award-winning Limahuli Garden and Preserve in the early 1970s and 1980s. In 1994, Wichman and his wife Hau‘oli donated the entire 1,000 acre Limahuli Valley to the botanical garden in order to protect the area and create an ahupua‘a-based management program that has been the foundation for their work in restoring native plant communities, cultural sites, traditional knowledge and practices and community resilience.

Student speaker

Carrie Soo Hoo
Carrie Soo Hoo

Soo Hoo, triple majoring in marine science, psychology and communication, will represent the graduating class as student speaker. She is also set to receive certificates in educational studies and STEM honors.

While maintaining a 3.88 GPA, she has compiled a lengthy list of academic honors, was awarded with the NOAA Earnest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship, and the Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research and UH STEM Honors Research grants.

Soo Hoo’s campus and community service includes numerous marine science-related activities. She also works as a tutor at the Kilohana Academic Success Center and with New Student Programs. She’s actively involved with the UH Hilo Marine Mammal Club, UH Hilo Swing Club, and INT Dance Squad.


UH Hilo spring commencement will be held on Saturday, May 14, 2016, 9:00 a.m. at Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium.

There are 632 candidates for a total of 855 degrees or certificates from the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (37); College of Arts and Sciences (529); College of Business and Economics (41); Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language (52); and College of Pharmacy (172).

There are 24 others who are candidates for various post-graduate honors.


Media release