Two longtime members of university ‘ohana are leaving UH Hilo

Emmeline de Pillis and Harald Barkhoff have accepted administrative positions at universities in California.

Prof. Barkhoff paddling in a one-man canoe in Keauhou Bay. Island in background.
Prof. Barkhoff in a one-man race in Keauhou, 2010. Barkhoff’s research while at UH Hilo included investigating cultural components of health behaviors such as physical activity in indigenous and Native Hawaiian environments. Courtesy photo. Click to enlarge.

By Susan Enright

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo community is saying goodbye to two longtime professors and administrators. UH Hilo Chancellor Bonnie Irwin announced today that the interim dean of the College of Business of Economics and the chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Exercise Sciences have accepted administrative positions at universities in California.

Emmeline de Pillis

Emmeline De Pillis
Emmeline De Pillis

Emmeline de Pillis, presently interim dean of the UH Hilo business and economics college, starts her new role today as dean of the College of Business and Public Management at University of LaVerne in California.

“She is very excited about the opportunities, particularly in the focus on social mobility for students,” says Irwin in her announcement posted on the UH Hilo Chancellor’s Blog. “She also wanted all of you to know how very much she will miss UH Hilo and of her gratitude for all that she has learned from and with all of you.”

De Pillis began her academic career at UH Hilo in 1997 as an assistant professor of management. She was named interim dean of the business college 2019. She founded the college’s Executive Education Program and established a new advising structure that reduced the number by more than half of students dropping out before completing their degree. She also led the college’s strategic planning and accreditation processes, including reaccreditation in 2020 by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Her research interests include entrepreneurship, gender, virtual teams, and higher education.

Harald Barkhoff

Harald Barkhoff
Harald Barkhoff

On July 15, Harald Barkhoff, currently professor and chair of kinesiology and exercise sciences, will begin his new role as dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services at California State University, Monterey Bay.

“He mentioned that he felt called to the position because of the curriculum and vision set in service to the community, including opportunities to better serve the indigenous communities in Monterey County,” says Irwin in her announcement. “He also sends his gratitude to the campus and communities for their aloha and looks to take that spirit with him.”

Barkhoff came to UH Hilo in 2004 and is a tenured full professor. He was a member of the 2017-2018 President’s Emerging Leaders Program of the UH System. In 2013, he received the UH Hilo Applied Learning Experiences Excellence in Teaching award.

He received the 2018-2019 Jerry R. Thomas Distinguished Leadership Award for Bachelor’s Degree Granting Departments, the highest honor given by the American Kinesiology Association. He was honored with this award for his great contribution to curriculum development in the UH Hilo kinesiology and exercise sciences program and for inspiring dozens of undergraduates to collaborate in sports science research. His papers at conferences in Polynesia have introduced the integration of kinesiology in the context of island cultures and in particular indigenous and Native Hawaiian knowledge and belief systems.

Years of service

Irwin says that between them, de Pillis and Barkhoff have served nearly 40 years at UH Hilo.

“I am grateful to each for their years of care and service to this community,” she says.


Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.