PHOTO ESSAY & FULL VIDEO: UH Hilo 2018 Spring Commencement

Graduating students at UH Hilo met the challenge of finals during an erupting volcano, proving nothing can stop these extraordinary future leaders of our island communities and the world. I mua!

Photos by Bob Douglas.

Group photo of graduates with caps and lei.

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo 2018 Spring Commencement was held Saturday, May 12, 2018, at Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium in Hilo. It was a special triumph this year given the challenges presented by the Kilauea eruption that started just before finals.

“Through this difficult time, all of you stepped up and proved once again that the foundation of this campus is truly driven by the spirit of caring for one another,” says Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai in a mahalo message sent out to the university community on May 11.

UH Hilo students petitioned for degrees and/or certificates from the colleges of Arts and Sciences (589); Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (22); Business and Economics (57); Pharmacy (143); Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language (48); and for various post-graduate credentials (19). Keynote speaker was Henk Rogers, a Dutch-born video game entrepreneur and leading clean energy advocate. Students speaker was Matthew Ruiz, Jr, a sociology major who will be entering UH Hilo’s Master of Arts in Teaching program this summer. Read more details about commencement and speakers.

Click photos to enlarge:

Before Start of Commencement

Three graduates in regalia, red, blue, and yellow sashes. Young woman in center has head lei wrapped around her cap.

Processional & Opening

Candidates seated before ceremonies begin.

Opening Remarks

Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai at podium.
Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai

Teaching Awards

Keynote and Student Speaker

Mortarboard Communication

Mortarboard with the words: "I know you're looking down from Heaven and you're proud. I DID IT DAD!"


Conferring of Baccalaureate Degrees

Graduate coming down from stage holding her diploma. She wears a green sash, red sashes, and lei.


Conferring of Graduate Degrees

Graduate student on dais receives hood. One person stands in front of her to adjust hood, one behind her to place. All wear head lei.

Conferring of Doctoral Degrees

Large group of pharmacy students with hoods.
Pharmacy graduates.



Large group of graduates in full regalia, decked in lei.


About the photographer: Bob Douglas is a local artist, photographer, and sometimes part-time student who volunteers his photography skills to the Office of the Chancellor and UH Hilo Stories.

Video of full commencement: