New UH Hilo chancellor, Bonnie D. Irwin, welcomed with traditional kīpaepae ceremony

The traditional Kīpaepae Ho‘onoho (welcoming ceremony) was held on the UH Hilo campus this morning for Chancellor Bonnie D. Irwin. A Kīpaepae Ho‘oku‘u (releasing ceremony) was also performed for Marcia Sakai, who served as interim chancellor since 2017. 

Group photo, standing, from left, From left: Hawaiʻi Island Mayor Harry Kim, UH President David Lassner, former interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai, Chancellor Bonnie D. Irwin and her husband author Ned Huston.
From left: Hawaiʻi Island Mayor Harry Kim, UH President David Lassner, former interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai, Chancellor Bonnie D. Irwin and her husband, author Ned Huston. Courtesy photo.

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo community welcomed its new chancellor, Bonnie D. Irwin, to her post as leader of the Hawai‘i Island university on July 2 with a traditional Native Hawaiian appointment ceremony. Irwin officially started her new position yesterday.

“I’m very honored to be here and I’m humbled that I was chosen for this position,” Irwin says. “I see great things in the future for Hilo and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

The Kīpaepae Ho‘onoho (welcoming ceremony) was held on the UH Hilo campus with students, faculty, staff, Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim, Chancellor Irwin’s husband and author Ned Huston, and UH President David Lassner in attendance.

“The kind of education that students can get here is amazing,” Lassner says. “And I don’t know that any other campus has as much impact on its island, its people, its community, its families as UH Hilo. So, this was a wonderful day.”

Irwin comes to UH Hilo with more than 30 years of experience in higher education. She last served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University Monterey Bay.

Read Chancellor Irwin’s first monthly column: UH Hilo as a gateway for upward mobility. UH News will have an in-depth conversation with the chancellor about her vision for the campus in August.

A Kīpaepae Ho‘oku‘u (releasing ceremony) was also performed for Marcia Sakai, who served as interim chancellor since 2017. Sakai is returning to a faculty position in the Department of Business and Economics.

Dancers in yellow. Drums in background.

 

-Adapted from UH System News

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